Is it too late to become a quantity surveyor? In this blog we will explore why people are considering a career change into quantity surveying and examine data to see if now is still a good time to enter the QS labour market.
A recent RICS article correctly mentions how we are living much longer and subsequently, working until much later in our lives. These facts mean we often see many mid-term career changes, especially into the quantity surveying field. For someone in their mid-30s, there could potentially be another 40 plus years of work ahead of them. The article goes on to mention how Quantity Surveyors are currently in huge demand in the construction industry. But what does the data actually show.
In 2019, a cross-industry research report was released addressing the workforce shortage in construction. The report – which contains findings from 276 companies who collectively employ more than 160,000 workers – shows that quantity surveying was ranked third in the most severe occupational shortages. This is led by a number of factors, with the most prominent being an aging demographic. The report suggests that the aging demographic is causing a workforce void which was previously filled by EU migrants. The data shows that between 1998 and 2016 here had been a significant increase in foreign born employment from 4.1% to 12% equating to 252,000. As the effects of Brexit take hold, it will be reasonable to assume the void will only start to increase. It should be noted, the 2019 report is prior to the effects of Brexit fully materialising, what impact will this have on already demanding QS field?
But what about the pipeline for future work? If there is a decrease in construction output, the problem of skill shortage will be eradicated. Well only if there is a decrease in construction output. The following graph shows construction output in the UK from 2014 – 2019.
As you can see the data shows a 16% increase between these years suggesting a healthy growing industry. Although these figures were taken before the corona virus pandemic, it is a reflection on the current shortage of housing in the UK and increased spend in infrastructure on large projects like HS2. These 2 factors are driving strong growth within the construction industry which we believe will continue throughout the next decade.
To summarise, we believe now is a great time if you’re looking to enter the QS market.
Why not watch our youtube video on this subject?