Conflict management skills are in short supply in the construction industry, new research has found, with 19% of companies surveyed saying that managers of culturally diverse workforces, such as those typically found in ‘heavy industries’ such as construction and manufacturing, are not adept at dealing with conflict.

The international survey of 1,589 HR professionals, by talent specialists Futurestep, found that more than a fifth of organisations said conflict resolution skills were “in short supply”. The research, ‘Global Talent Impact survey: Understanding the Race for Impact 2012’, investigated which competencies recruiters value the most in which industries, and found that conflict resolution was not a skillset often found in heavy industry.

Dinesh Tyagi, Industrial Market Leader at Futurestep India, said:

“Conflict management skills are essential to ensure a mixed labour force runs harmoniously and employee relations are strong regardless of the difference in background and culture of its employees.”

Heidi Thompson, HR Consultant at Workplace Law, agrees:

“It’s important to know that conflict is inevitable and to some extent normal and if managed well can sometimes be a positive thing.

“It’s important as a manager to challenge our own perceptions and prejudices and not to stick to what we have always done but try and find a resolution. Try and consider a situation from someone else’s point of view rather than your own, and respect people’s differences.”

In a recent free webinar, Heidi discusses the fact that management styles differ and thus ways to resolve conflict will differ too – people can choose a variety of ways to address an issue, or simply hope it will go away, but collaborating with the employees in question is vital to the process, and the key to successful resolving disputes.

Interestingly, the survey also found that employees who were good at motivating others were in ready supply across the industrial sectors.