Healthy Industrial Markets Need Talent

Chris Taylor
Healthy industrial markets have fuelled the need for sector-specific cost management, project management and project controls skills.

The industrial markets are seeing a welcome increase in investment, with the energy sector especially buoyant. Europe looks set to become more competitive, with the relatively low cost of gas, especially shale gas, comparing favourably with China’s increasing costs. This could bring us more manufacturing business back onshore.

Skills shortage

Despite the buoyancy in the marketplace, built environment market demographics show that the industrial sector has suffered from a lack of succession planning, and we are now seeing a consultancy services skills shortage. I expect this to intensify as we move out of recession, with increased competition for specialist resource.

Mission critical projects

To address this shortage, we need to make people more aware of this sector’s benefits. The industrial sector is often seen as less attractive than commercial property - high-end architecturally led projects can seem alluring, albeit in shorter supply at present. Industry, on the other hand, offers the excitement of huge technically-complex projects, often with a mission critical context. These projects are strategically important, with a high impact on the client’s business. Personally I’ve found that this more than compensates for any perceived lack of gloss!

Technology-led projects

Hopefully this perception is starting to change. I notice that new entrants to the profession are drawn to the dynamic technology-leading industrial projects when they become aware of them. I’d like to encourage new entrants, and established professionals, to seriously consider the benefits. My own career path has consistently followed the industry route at Faithful+Gould. I’m from the UK but I’ve also worked overseas including 13 years with Faithful+Gould in North America. I’ve had an excitingly varied career, working in oil & gas, nuclear, electrical power, pharma, highways, manufacturing and mining.

Using core knowledge and skills

Each time I’ve ventured into a new industry, it’s taken a few months to ‘learn the language’ and understand the context, but my core skills, gained early in my career, have always been appropriate, transferable and applicable. It’s one of the great benefits of the cost/project management professions – we can move between sectors, not only to follow our individual interests but also to be flexible when one sector is less buoyant than another.

Investing in global resource

Faithful+Gould’s historical roots are in the industrial sector and today we foresee continuing global opportunity in this area. To meet client demand we’re investing in resource for this sector, at multiple levels to build balanced teams. We predict growth in Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the US and established professionals will be needed in these regions. We have graduate opportunities in the industrial sector too, for non-cognates as well as construction/surveying degree holders.

Equipping you to transfer your skills

To maximise our global resource competency, we offer training and development to support mobility between sectors. For an introduction to the oil & gas or nuclear industries, for instance, we offer induction courses led by our parent company Atkins. The training helps you to focus on the sector, understand its background, client needs and terminology. Where appropriate we can also provide a mentor to guide your skills acquisition and your career development.

A career with us

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