21 May 2019 20:33 IST

Built environment offers huge job opportunities

Real-estate sector to create 31 million jobs in next decade; specialised skills are needed

The Built Environment (BE) is a social science term for “the human-made spaces in which people live, work, and pursue recreational activities on a daily basis.” The built environment, today, transcends just a liveable place. It is a multifaceted field that comprises design, construction, management, and use of advanced technologies over conventional ones. It is predicted that the Indian built environment will be the third-largest industry in the world by 2030. With an estimated yearly growth of 7-8 per cent, it is poised to create ample employment opportunities for future generations.

Dependent on a range of metrics such as skilled manpower, flexibility, and technological advancement, the built environment is transforming India’s real estate sector. It is expected to contribute 13 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, and the market size is set to touch $1 trillion by 2030.

Courses for BE

Students seeking career opportunities in the built environment sector can choose from various courses, such as a BBA in Real Estate & Urban Infrastructure (with a minimum of 60 per cent marks in their intermediate). And at the post-graduate level, there are courses such as MBAs in Real Estate & Urban Infrastructure, in Construction Project Management, in Construction Economics & Quantity Surveying and in Infrastructure Management.

Applicants to these courses need to score 50 per cent in any stream and should have scored 50 per cent in their graduation with a minimum score of 500 in MAT/GMAT, CMAT-150. The duration is three years for the BBA and two years for the MBA.

The advantage of BE courses is that they are not restricted to students from science and commerce backgrounds. Those with humanities or arts backgrounds are also eligible to pursue these courses.

Students who are not interested in the two-year MBA course can apply, instead, for a one-year PG Diploma in Facilities Management. It is a uniquely designed programme that prepares students for the position of Facilities Manager — a crucial subset of built environment professionals. One of the basic requirements for this course is that students must score a minimum of 50 per cent marks in their graduation (in any stream) to take up roles that require skilled managerial, executive and technical manpower for facilities management.

Besides this, students can work for multinational companies, international property consultants, developers and builders, IT / ITES units, facilities management companies / agencies / consultants, and condominium / owners welfare associations. Through these specialised programmes, students receive an unparalleled immersion into the world of built environment — right from procuring land, obtaining approvals and arranging finance, to construction and marketing of the project, managing assets and facilities management. This gives them a broader perspective of the entire project and helps them function across different levels.

This in-depth understanding shapes a student into a built environment professional. Industry-institute partnerships are a vital value-add in this area, given that practical pedagogy and case study methods are complementing theoretical knowledge.

Higher education institutes need to be aware that students seeking career opportunities in the BE sector have to understand the requirements of the industry in order to create a better work environment. Techno-managerial courses offered by various top-level accredited universities and colleges are the best options for students to develop a good mix of these skills and abilities.

Changes in business processes

Over the past two years, there have been drastic changes in the business processes of the real estate and urban infrastructure sectors, owing to a host of reforms like the Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA), the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT), relaxation of foreign direct investment (FDI) and external commercial borrowing (ECB). These reforms have brought with them ease of doing business and have forced this traditionally unorganised space to move towards a more professionally managed format. With the need for professionals in the sector, BE now needs human resource people who are skilled in both technical and managerial capabilities.

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 35 per cent of growth in the world’s urban population till 2050 is expected to come from only three countries — India, China and Nigeria. Also, absolute growth in India’s urban population is predicted to be the highest. Therefore, it is crucial that the Indian real estate and infrastructure sectors can cater to this growth. The future of India’s built environment is in our hands. We have to decide what kind of houses we want to live in; what kind of offices and factories we want to work in; and how much work and effort we are willing to put in to make these ‘wants’ a reality.

(The writer is Associate Dean & Director, School of Real Estate and Infrastructure, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University, Mumbai.)