The Quantity Surveyor Mid-Life Crisis

With more new homes being built in the UK than we have seen in decades, it’s fair to say the coming years could be extremely lucrative for Quantity Surveyors. Research indicates that the influx of help to buy schemes, coupled with house prices predicted to fall in 2017, will allow more people to own their own home. Great news, right?

Well, maybe not. More demand ultimately leads to more supply. But do these property developers have all the resources they need? I’m talking about the now notorious ‘middle age gap’.

As the construction industry began to buckle under the strain of the 2008 recession, fewer young people embarked on a career in construction. Those that did chose site based skill sets. The majority undertook apprenticeships in carpentry, electronics and plumbing, working their way into Site Foreman positions and other managerial roles.

Although there is still quite the shortage of site based personnel, the real concern is over the commercial function of these businesses. For almost 8 years, the number of university applications of those studying to become Quantity Surveyors dramatically dwindled. This has led to a shortage of talent within the commercial arena. As a result, construction recruitment agencies needed to re-educate clients on how competitive their QS job roles need to be.

The biggest question raised is; “what do we do to fix it?”

Some companies have chosen to take on young, post-apprenticeship students and pay to put them through university on a 1 day a week, 5-year placement. Others are hiring young quantity surveyors with just a few years’ experience with the view of developing them internally. Furthermore, an astute few have decided to call upon the services of recruitment head hunters to canvas the local market for the top talent.

What next?

Well, that may be the most difficult question to answer. Without the right people, with the right attributes and experience, many property developers risk projects surpassing their budget and falling behind schedule. This can have monumental financial implications.

Author: Robert Dunn: Senior Consultant- Maritime