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How to build a successful career in quantity surveying

The demand for quantity surveyors is extremely high, with some reports stating that it is actually easier to employ a ballet dancer!  Quantity surveyors play a fundamental part in the engineering lifecycle, ensuring that projects run on time, on budget and to plan.  The demand for candidates with the right skills and experience is set to continue in line with the predicted growth in engineering across all sectors, including rail, power and the built environment. 

So with all this opportunity, what is the best way to build a successful career in quantity surveying?  Our quantity surveying and commercial management recruitment experts have shared their insights.

Getting the right education and training

There are numerous educational routes into quantity surveying but candidates will need to either have a degree or be working towards one in a more junior role. Degrees are available in quantity surveying, which are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) but you do not have to have studied this subject to enter the profession.  Graduates from other degree subjects can take a postgraduate conversion course, which is also accredited by RICS. The first degree can be in any subject but those which may help to provide relevant knowledge include, building or construction, civil or structural engineering, economics, geography, mathematics or urban and land studies.  This postgraduate course takes one year to complete full time and around two years part time.  It’s also worth noting that a vast amount of commercial managers start out as quantity surveyors. 

Our recruiters find that many clients evaluate candidates by their own standards; where someone who has worked their way up ‘from the tools’ and trained on the job would be more likely to recruit someone with a similar career path.  However, with quantity surveying skills in such high demand the vast majority of employers approach candidates with a lot of flexibility.  There are many employers who are willing to take on graduates who have not reached accredited status and support them to complete this alongside their job. 

Practical skills and hands on experience

Aside from education and training, clients look for certain core skills such as a practical and logical mind; creativity and innovation; strong numeracy, financial management and IT skills; strong team working and communication skills with the ability to work with people of all types.  Having practical work experience is also a bonus when starting out, and as a career progresses, having experience in a particular field such as rail, power or the built environment will be extremely advantageous. 

New opportunity or team member

You can search for the latest quantity surveyor jobs at our dedicated discipline page.


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