Skills shortage and inadequate profitability are main concerns for global industry leaders

ACE board member Gavin English speaking at the FIDIC conference in Berlin.

Engineers, economists and consultants from across some of the biggest firms in the world believe a lack of skills and marginal profits still beset the industry and keep them awake at night.

Votes undertaken at the annual FIDIC International Infrastructure conference have showed that persistent problems often mentioned still halt progress within engineering and construction.

Around 800 leaders representing companies from across the globe have voiced their concerns while gathering in Berlin to discuss the future challenges facing them and to debate the key infrastructure issues and opportunities facing the planet.

Almost a third (30%) have highlighted the well known skills shortage as the biggest challenge for the industry, while a quarter of respondents said disruptive technologies were a major issue and a fifth of those in attendance believed political uncertainties were a big concern in how their firms operated.

When asked what kept them up at night, 49% of attendees unsurprisingly earmarked a lack of profitability. Marginal growth (33%) and reputational risk (19%) were also seen as concerns moving forward.

The voting is part of the conference which looks at a range of issues like how the cities of today and tomorrow will be influenced by new technology and the growing trend for digitalisation. Future trends in urban transportation has also been examined and an array of global infrastructure leaders are addressing delegates about how they see current and future industry changes.

The conference theme, Mobility and Smart Infrastructure, signals a focus on the smart city-smart infrastructure technology agenda. Against a background of new and emerging technologies directly impacting public and private transport, healthcare, energy, retail, tourism and many other industries, the conference will examine the impact that these developments are having on infrastructure and today’s modern cities.

Rapid urbanisation and the development of cities of tomorrow have been a reoccurring theme at the conference and delegates have confirmed their worries in ensuring smart cities are realised. 96% of the voting audience believe the industry needs to enhance skill sets and resources to allow technology to be embedded in future engineering solutions.

While two-thirds (67%) said innovative funding strategies were not embraced across the sector which meant project development was hindered in many cases.

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