UK faces project management skills gaps, says EY

15 Sep 17

Regional skills gaps are holding back large public sector projects and increasing risk of delays and increasing costs, according to EY research.

Analysis from the accounting firm states that costs are likely to rise if projects have to a premium for commercial, financial and project management labour where demand for these skills significantly outstrip supply.

In addition, a lack of skilled labour will lead to delays and projects running over budget.

EY warns that regions like the East of England and the South West face the biggest deficit in project management skills, while London has an overabundance of project managers with twice as many skilled professionals available to work than projects to work on.

This comes at a time when the data from the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline indicates there will be an estimated £500bn of projects across the UK to 2021 – including Crossrail and the Hinckley Point nuclear power plant.

Joe Stringer, EY partner for government and public sector, said: “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.”

The report noted that, in addition to project management skills and experience, demand for allied competencies such finance are also likely to rise.

EY urges the public sector to think ahead and try to mitigate any future recruitment issues.

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