Talent gap in realty must be tackled with professional expertise

UAE is fast becoming a truly cosmopolitan country, with first class infrastructure and amenities that are ideal for setting up both business as well as permanent residency. The country is implementing mega projects with long-lasting impact for now and the future, that will reverberate throughout the region; with the end result being that the UAE will be a unique and a sought-after place for many people throughout the world.

The country is now facing a persistent and lingering challenge that will require prompt planning for at the present and without hesitation. This challenge will also resurface in new areas, when the UAE reaches its zenith in a few years from now. A modern economy necessitates a competent and highly professional community and work force to maintain, operate and preserve it. Without such qualified workforce deterioration will set in quickly, and prevent further advancements and upgrades that will be obligatory for such an economy to keep up with the rest of the world and the continuous progression.

Currently, majority of businesses in the UAE face tremendous difficulties to recruit qualified personnel for their operations, and this is not limited to particular fields of expertise or businesses; it is a challenge that all managers are now facing in almost all aspects of their operations.

This important issue can be addressed via several avenues, to insure that its negative impact is minimised. One aspect that could resolve some of these difficulties will be the fact the UAE is and will attract more professionals, as the results of its economic boom and progressive achievements. Another one could be the introduction of more stringent requirements for employments here, and more and thorough screening for recruitments.

Still, another element that will force the level of qualifications to higher levels is due primarily to the fact that, certain positions within the UAE's economy and business environments simply dictate and demand specific expertise and experience, which cannot be compromised at all.

Moreover, introducing high calibre and globally accredited universities, that provide good quality academic education could also help to alleviate the current difficulties.

The real question however remains, as to how fluid the transition from the current semi-professional workforce to a bona fide professional and very qualified one in the future will be; and whether the present gap between the two workforces are filled in on a timely basis, and without delaying the future economic and business plans.

Take the property industry for example, where the market has been rapidly expanding and demand is constantly on the rise. If you are a developer and you would like to boost your business, then it is essential for you to build up your organisation, in order to be able to enlarge your share of the market.

Therefore, you need additional qualified personnel. However, expanding an organisation is not an easy task, especially if the market is already squeezed to the limit when it comes to qualified professionals, and it may very well take a long time before such individuals are recruited.

Since the market is booming and time is of the essence, the windows of opportunities have a short horizon, and therefore, a thriving developer most likely will be unable to accommodate its expansion plans on time; and consequently is forced to execute its plans with the existing and perhaps inadequate resources that are available at its disposal.

This phenomenon is a constant throughout the industry, and is making an impact that is felt by all.

The end-result of this on-going scenario manifests itself primarily in two specific areas – project delays and low-quality finished products.

As market demands continue to have an upward trajectory, the compulsory expansion plans to accommodate the supply side in a proportionate manner fails to transpire and become a reality, thus creating significant shortage on the supply part of the equation.

The UAE property market faces significant delays in completed projects now, and there are no indications this issue will be resolved any time soon, and is more likely that the current situation perhaps will deteriorate further.

Moreover, as the circle of entities that make up the property industry work hard to juggle the co-ordination between the demand and the supply requirements, quality is usually the first element to suffer, as it becomes an attractive and an easy exit venue to accelerate projects and reduce cost impacts. While requirements will sky rocket in a few years, there may not be enough expertise available to address them in a professional manner.

The author is Chairman of Saba Properties.