A research report by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) titled “Real Estate and Construction Professionals in India by 2020” highlighted the significant skills deficit across specialised domains of the built environment such as planning, architecture, civil engineering, quantity surveying, project management, facility management, and valuation.
The gap is set to widen as the education sector is unable to provide adequate skill training to the students. The skills gap in the built environment sector was also reflected in a National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) report titled “Human Resource and Skill Requirements in the Building, Construction and Real Estate”.
The real-estate and construction sector in India is likely to face an acute skills shortage (expected to reach 44 million by 2022) across all levels, thus, the demand for professionals with proper industry knowledge is only set to rise. Currently, there is a demand-supply gap of 82-86 per cent in the number of professionals and the skill sets for core professions in this industry. A NSDC analysis pointed out that the areas of legal knowledge and government regulations, networking and liaising skills, language proficiency, financial knowledge, project planning and management skills, including applications and use of project management software, need to be strengthened in order to meet the requirements.
Skill deficiency in the workforce leads to sub-optimal outcomes for all stakeholders. Professionals may not be able to make correct and optimal choices relating to managing businesses. India being a large economy, with a huge population and substantial demographic dividend, offers immense opportunities for development and growth.
What can be done
Given the forecasts for overall economic growth and expansion of the built environment sector, substantial skill enhancement is required to build a productive workforce. Industry and academia must look into developing methods and courses to address the strong skill-set demand by building competent professionals. An industry-led academic institution is one such initiative that has been set up to exclusively address the needs of the built environment.
The students of such industry-led institutions should not only receive a niche opportunity to build a much sought-after career in various sectors of built environment but also be able to join the global workforce. They should be confident of handling projects with huge investments and can look forward to attractive pay packages, coupled with growth opportunities. The students must be exposed to industry-oriented coursework, work on assignments linked with industry problems, and undertake live case studies, followed by intensive internships in India or abroad, leading to a final placement.
The students should also focus on extra-curricular and co-curricular activities to enhance their leadership and networking skills as the industry is not looking for a manager but a leader who is ready to take on the challenges from day one. They can look forward to placements in valuation, appraisal or credit management, facilities management, construction project management, development and management of real estate, business development, advisory and transactions, property management and technical due diligence verticals.
Understanding Industry 4.0
Industry is looking for candidates who know how to work under financial, time and labour constraints. The industry-led institutions should adopt education 4.0 which is a desired approach to learning that aligns itself with the emerging fourth industrial revolution. This industrial revolution is focused on smart technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics; all of which now impact our everyday lives. To cope with the demands of Industry 4.0, students should be taught cutting-edge professional skills with diligence and should be aware of technology with big data (interpretation and analysis) in real-time situations.
With such industry and academia alignment, not only is employability of built environment graduates enhanced, they can enter the workplace job-ready. Their employers do not have to spend on training raw talent, thus reducing their turnaround time and leading to improvements in bottomline. The students can also become entrepreneurs in the built environment world after gaining valuable experience as trained employees.
(The writer is Associate Dean and Director, School of Real Estate, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University, Mumbai.)