As the economy and real estate markets continue to bounce back from the deepest recession in modern times, more organisations are looking for ways to transform their business, seize new market opportunities and support long-term profitable growth.
Leaders in the real estate, property and construction industries are turning to executive education programmes as a powerful tool to stay ahead and help them build the knowledge, skills and insight they need to drive their businesses forward. Today’s leaders are recognising that executive education has a key role to play in maintaining world-class standards of excellence within their organisations.
The global building and construction industry is undergoing dramatic change. Projects are becoming increasingly complex and competition in the marketplace is intensifying. To succeed, organisations must ensure that they focus on quality standards while improving efficiency, mitigating risk and identifying how they can achieve competitive advantage. Alongside this, the industry faces a burgeoning skills crisis as the last of the ‘baby boomers’ retire from the workplace. Many of the leaders in waiting do not have the confidence and skills to take over the reins, typically as a result of the lack of training and development during the recession years when budgets were pared back to the minimum.
Having focused on costs during the global financial crisis, leaders are now turning to growth opportunities, in particular those arising from new infrastructure plans, urban development, population growth, and emerging economies. As the industry prepares for a period of expansion, with organisations either entering new geographies and sectors or consolidating their footprint in these areas, there is an acknowledgement that leaders and managers need a broader and more in-depth knowledge and skills base. Executive education is coming to the fore due to its ability to help the industry create a much needed global framework of knowledge.
Up until now, the majority of executive education programmes across the world focus primarily on leadership and general business topics such as finance, marketing and business development. But now, RICS has created a portfolio of executive education programmes focused on developing the skills of leaders and future directors in the built environment.
The programmes address a select range of topics covering all relevant aspects of the construction industry, and include leadership and finance training blended as part of the programme. Using this approach, leaders gain essential leadership and commercial skills, as well as the high-level technical knowledge and insight they need to develop effective strategies and navigate through the complex commercial environment they are operating in.
While today’s talent crisis is a global issue, research shows that talent is even more scarce in emerging markets where companies are struggling to keep pace with the new business opportunities being created, threatening their business growth and economic prosperity.
Without doubt, building a skilled and knowledgeable workforce is one of the most critical challenges facing organisations today. The good news is that leading companies are committed to investing in their talent through a combination of strategies that focus on recruiting the right people, giving them the right development tools and opportunities and ensuring they are retained. As a result, executive education programmes are becoming an important component of innovative and competitive talent management strategies.
High-quality executive education can deliver a whole host of benefits to the business as well as the individuals undertaking these programmes. For the overall business, executive education can result in improved business performance and greater profitability. For both senior business leaders and HR organisations it provides a strong weapon for attracting, retaining and managing executive talent, as well as ensuring that the right people are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their roles more effectively.
Executive education in all industry sectors is clearly undergoing something of a boom with technology set to become an increasingly important driver and enabler. Face-to-face learning provides an ideal delivery format for executive education, with technology and blended learning initiatives (combining face-to-face and online delivery methods) enhancing the learning experience, enabling greater access to learning programmes and providing busy executives with the flexibility to manage their studies alongside their work.
As recovery continues to gather pace and companies compete to engage employees more effectively to give them a competitive edge, executive education will continue to make its mark and prove itself as a valuable business and career development tool.