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Tackling The Talent Crunch

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Regional skills gap

Research published by Ernst and Young (EY), "Can small changes today improve the UK’s commercial talent deficit tomorrow?", reveals public sector projects are facing rising costs as UK regions encounter a project management talent deficit.

The East of England is facing the biggest project management skills deficit in the UK - with five times as many roles available in the region than skilled labour. Over the next few years, one of the main drivers of demand here is for offshore wind farms.

The South West follows closely behind with three times as many roles than labour to fill them, with continued demand for project management skills from the Ministry of Defence now competing with the Hinckley Point construction programme.

... Versus skills surplus

However, London has the biggest project management skills surplus in the UK with just over twice as many skilled professionals available to work than projects.

Commenting on the report Sara Drake, chief executive of APM said: “As the Chartered body for the project profession we recognise these growing demands and are fully aligned to supporting our profession’s growth. Earlier this year APM outlined the importance of embracing the next generation by driving forward an agenda for skills investment, a theme continued throughout our strategy. We applaud EY’s highly insightful report and hope we can learn from each other as we both work to create a resilient profession ready to deliver demands from industry.“

Tackling the talent crunch

Joe Stringer, Partner for EY Government and Public Sector, comments: “We’ve never seen such an increase in demand for project management, commercial and financial skills across infrastructure and government at the same time. Combined with the geographic nature of infrastructure programmes, decision makers in most regions can’t assume the skills are there and need to think creatively and embrace better ways of working to ensure that they can deliver projects in a way that provides value for money”.

In the report EY makes seven recommendations to tackle the skills gap. 

  1. Share resources across departments and programmes
  2. Be more flexible on skills sets
  3. Consider new approaches to finding talent
  4. Leverage technology
  5. Collaborate with the private sector and professional bodies
  6. Recognise the importance of taking pre-emptive action

This reflect APM’s own skills manifesto which called for a period of stability in the skills framework, with so much uncertainty in today’s world, we need to manage change effectively, efficiently and to capitalise on the opportunities available to develop the next generation of project professionals and equip them with the skills for the future.


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