With Brexit now becoming a reality, it is interesting to see how skills shortages are affecting construction. There is an expected increase of demand over the next few years, with the Government’s Housing Programme promising to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020’s. A cross-industry research report published in 2019 found that quantity surveyors are third on the list of severe shortage occupation showing that organisations have experienced significant difficulty in recruitment and retention of quantity surveyors.
With an increase in demand and a shortage of quantity surveyors, this means only one thing. This is a candidate’s market! The lack of quantity surveyors continues to pose a real challenge to all sectors of the industry – is this skills gap or a lack of qualifications? So, what do you need to do to take advantage of the skills gap, and fast track your career?
Do your skills fit the quantity surveying gap?
Kerrie Doherty from Faith + Gould, states that you will need to be in the best shape possible if you want to take advantage of the skills gap. Softer skills are extremely important, including faultless mathematical skills, excellent written and spoken English skills, as well as a persuasive negotiation ability.
Specific surveyor roles require insight into specific challenges specific to the sector. There are training opportunities on the RICS website to keep you up to date with your knowledge.
Refine your skills to progress
There were 55,000 chartered surveyors in the UK in 2018, a considerable drop from the 63,000 in 2011. A recent RICS report shows that although workload increases, labour shortages are the main barrier to growth. However, opportunities are available to those with the right skills in the right place. Therefore, you shouldn’t be staying comfortable in your current position but should be considering a move vertically into a different sector.
Becoming a specialist within a certain sector can limit your options. If you want to take advantage of the progression, you should be taking opportunities both vertically and laterally. Those with a variety of skills, compared to those who specialise, can negotiate deals better as well as gaining greater opportunities to shape their career.
For some companies, on-the-job experience is not enough. Companies expect surveyors to have a strong passion for their role, going above and beyond. Prioritising events such as the RICS matrix for younger professionals or even attending RICS seminars and training events can help show your commitment.
Building personal relationships with developers, land estate agents and institutions also helps to show that you are likely to add value to a company’s bottom line. Companies are now taking on graduates who have not yet reached accredited status due to their knowledge and even support them to obtain it. As well as this, some companies have offered surveyors ‘associate’ status but have not yet been made chartered.
Choosing the right CPD will help get the job
You’re likely to be offered more than you think when taking a role in a smaller company. You may be given a more varied workload as well as a chance to gain wider experience. This allows you to have input on strategic decisions. CPD is important and should always be a priority. If not, you’ll find yourself falling behind with the pace of new tech and new working practices. Familiarity with software’s such as CostX are expected nowadays.
Again, attending RICS seminars are a great way to ensure you’re staying up to date.
Author: Charis Bedford