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Demand for engineers, architects ‘outstripping’ supply

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A construction worker seen on the top of a building on Hun Sen Blvd in the capital’s Meanchey district in 2021. Hong Menea

Demand for engineers, architects ‘outstripping’ supply

Industry analysts have highlighted a shortage of architects and engineers as a potential issue for the Kingdom’s construction sector, as the number of projects underway begins a steady return to pre-Covid-19 levels.

Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara recently announced that through the implementation of the Board of Architects Cambodia (BAC), from 2014 to November 2022, the BAC had registered 1,546 architects, 220 of them women.

He said that despite the number of newly registered architects, human resources in the field – and in engineering – remain limited and are insufficient to respond to the needs of the fast-growing construction sector in Cambodia.

A recent study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Cambodia found that from 2018-2020, Cambodia would need up to 35,000 new engineers and architects to serve the industrial, manufacturing, construction and agricultural sectors.

Experts from several relevant institutions have encouraged strategies that would increase the Kingdom’s human resource capacity in these two areas, in order to meet the needs of the labour market and contribute to the socio-economic development of the Kingdom.

Lim Sothav, secretary-general of the Board of Engineers Cambodia (BEC) said that the needs of the rapidly growing construction sector have not been met for the last decade.

He added that every year, graduates are approached by many companies, but there are invariably more positions available than qualified graduates.

“There are many positions available, so engineers have no problem finding work. Some students are employed before they graduate. Engineering and architecture skills are in high demand, and a shortage of skilled labour persists,” he continued.

He explained that the BEC has devised a 2023 training strategy that aims to drive the professional development of all members of the Kingdom’s national boards of engineers.

“Increased training opportunities will enable them to strengthen their skills to meet the manpower needs of the industry,” he added.

In a recent report, the construction ministry said the government approved 3,827 new construction projects – with a total area of over 6.5 million square meters – in the past year.


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