A skills shortage in quantity surveying is spawning a new era of employer-backed education

There’s a major skills shortage in quantity surveying. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) released a report in January detailing the figures. The results show that 60% of surveyors have labour shortages.

The role of quantity surveyors is crucial to the construction sector. These are the people who manage the costs related to building and civil engineering projects, it’s a highly specialised role that can’t be filled by the layman. As experts in the art of costing a building, a labour shortage means restricted growth in the construction sector. The Telegraph cites it as one reason why the UK will miss its housebuilding target in 2018.

The short fact of the matter is fewer young people are training up to become quantity surveyors and a thinning workforce across the construction sector means those who do train up are being pigeonholed or pulled through the wrong route. For example, a surveyor might find himself dropped into the role of a project manager.

The latter point is an issue of organisational structure, which can be fixed internally. The former point is much more complex. Desperate firms started to advertise projects abroad a few years ago, but that didn’t solve the issue at home.

Now, they’re putting people through university themselves – and that’s the kind of investment needed to create a new generation of quantity surveyors. It shows commitment and entices young people to get on the career path.

Training up the workforce of tomorrow

Corporate university sponsorship is nothing new. Corporate degrees are backed by most of the FTSE 100 in one way or another. But in quantity surveying, they are new and more firms are going down this route to fill their skills shortage.

Specifically, they’re going down the company scholarship route. A company scholarship is offered to employees and includes some of the costs associated with the degree. For example, it might cover their living costs or even pay a wage. Scholarships are full-time, but companies provide additional support, such as career mentoring and placement. This means students learn on the job in addition to in the classroom.

The beauty is the company can guarantee full time employment on successful completion of the degree, typically if it’s first class with honours. This gives young people a very defined career path and is a huge incentive to get them into the industry.

It’s also a huge incentive for firms because this allows individuals the opportunity to be perfectly equipped to get the job done. For construction firms who specialise in a specific sector, such as residential or retail, this is vitally important as one of the reasons why 60% of surveyors have labour shortages is because people aren’t qualified.

If you’re interested in getting into quantity surveying, you’ll need a degree accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If you have an unrelated degree, you can take a postgraduate conversion course accredited by RICS. So, the route is there for you, but the issue of pay will likely sway you one way or another.

For help securing a career in quantity surveying, get in touch with one of our experts today by emailing or calling us on 02078127700.