Site and project management are the areas where the industry is facing its biggest skills shortage worldwide, according to a major report released this week by accountant KPMG

Almost two-thirds (74%) of respondents to KPMG’s annual global construction survey said they were concerned about a lack of site and project managers. This compared with 34% who worried about a lack of tradesmen and 13% concerned about a shortage of quantity surveyors.

Most contractors worldwide feel that the industry is not doing enough to tackle a growing skills crisis, according to the report.

Of the chief executives and senior company officers surveyed, 84% said they thought the industry was failing to address the skills shortage properly, despite two-thirds believing their own company was on track with recruitment processes.

Construction companies should develop a fresh approach to recruiting.

Richard Whittington, KPMG

The survey indicates that the skills shortage, which most respondents view as critical, is the single biggest priority for contractors. Almost half (49%) of respondents believe the shortage could restrict their growth plans, and although most said they would continue to bid for major projects, KPMG warns that this may lead to contractors having insufficient resources to meet demand.

Richard Whittington, the global head of KPMG’s building and construction practice, said: “One of the first things construction companies should do is to develop a fresh approach to recruiting in order to attract the best graduates in a very challenging global environment.”

The report also highlights other challenges, including failing risk management, escalating costs and tough new environmental standards.