Surveyor skills shortage approaching critical level, warns RICS

10 February 2015

More than four fifths (85%) of surveyors questioned in an RICS survey said that a lack of qualified candidates meant they had problems recruiting.

And already, the lack of qualified and capable surveying staff has meant that funded projects are being turned down by many companies.

Around two in five (43%) surveying firms are currently turning down new business opportunities due to a dearth of skilled workers, with each of them passing up an average of five contracts per year.

The RICS predicts that the problem will continue to worsen over the next five years.

Greg Marshall ICIOB, who runs Greg Marshall Quantity Surveying, told Construction Manager that he was currently turning down up to five new approaches a week. “Some clients are quite desperate to find commercial support, it is hindering the growth of their business.”

He added: “The industry doesn’t learn, as a young surveyor in the recession of the early 90s I had just passed my HNC and was called in to the managing surveyor’s office expecting promotion, and was one of the first to be made redundant! Training and investment in apprentices and trainees has always been the first bduget to be cut in this industry and there has been virtually no investment in training over the recession.

"I meet plenty of other quantity surveyors my age in their 40s, a few in their 30s but very rarely anyone in the 20s - the industry is storing up major problems as surveying is not the only profession this is happening to."

Greg Marshall ICIOB, Greg Marshall Quantity Surveying

“I meet plenty of other quantity surveyors my age in their 40s, a few in their 30s but very rarely anyone in their 20s – the industry is storing up major problems as surveying is not the only profession this is happening to.”

Alan Muse, director of built environment professional groups at RICS, said: “Surveyors play a pivotal role in the delivery of every construction project. Simply put, without surveyors, things don’t get built.

“That’s why our research is worrying: if so many firms are turning down work due to a lack of available talent, demand for skills will soon far outstrip the supply. For many companies, that time is already here, but the next few years look like a real tipping point – construction as an industry looks set to grow, but at this rate it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the capacity or the capability to fulfil planned projects.”

RICS is now calling for surveying companies to support its work in bringing through the next generation of surveying talent through its Surveying the Future campaign to attract a more diverse workforce.

In Construction Manager, Kier’s head of training and new entrants ian Dickerson has proposed using the CITB levy to set up a new one-year post-graduate conversion course to train graduates of other disciplines in quantity surveying. 

And Gardiner & Theobald senior partner Tony Burton has described talks with London South Bank University on a new degree course in quantity surveying where leading employers in the sector would share tuition with LSBU staff. 

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Why don't those experienced surveyors who are not qualified go down the NVQ Level 6 and 7 in construction management to get qualified? They are no time constraints associated with these qualifications if you are an experienced QS. The NVQs lead to MCIOB and Assoc RICs.

Gary Pollard, 13 February 2015

I agree with Gary, the NVQ route is especially suited to experienced professionals who require a qualification at QCF Levels 6 & 7; alternately there are many MSc courses, including Building Surveying & Quantity Surveying that may be achieved through on line distance learning; the main issue of course is the lack of interest from youngsters to enter the construction industry generally; this needs to be addressed and schemes such as the CITB Pre-16 Construction Initiative, to get school age children interested in construction, is a great start to replenish this skills sector in the long term

David Norman, 27 February 2015

i suggest that while all proposed plans are going on, companies should also employ international students studying QS in the UK to keep the work going. Because i have noticed that there are more international students in the QS department than EU.

Esther, 21 September 2015

It was back in 2015, but is the situation the same now in 2017 ?
How has the Brexit has changed this situation ?

Jose, 13 March 2017

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