Over the past few years, there have been several reports about a global crisis of the surveying profession. In fact, the shortage of quantity surveyors has already reached a critical level. In 2019, a report highlighted that the issue has not yet been resolved, with almost 50% of UK construction businesses reporting difficulties finding quantity surveyors. Several surveys have confirmed that quantity surveying is a profession with the most significant staff shortages even today, with many construction firms reporting skill shortages in the profession.
The UK’s decision to exit the EU has a significant impact on the foreign labour market, especially since the main reason why many voted for Brexit is to curb the UK’s immigration crisis. Being a member of the EU gives EU nationals the option to work and live in the UK. But Brexit has made it very difficult and impossible for these people to move to the UK, which could be the reason behind labour shortages in the UK, particularly in the construction industry.
The UK government’s immigration plans post-Brexit can pose many issues since the sector needs a good number of manual labourers. If their plans push through, not many labourers can enter the country, so the only option is to recruit British workers. However, industry experts are concerned that there are not enough workers in the UK to fill some important positions in the construction industry, such as quantity surveyors. With more and more construction companies struggling to hire the right employees, the increase in demand could spike a salary increase.
There Are More QS Apprentices
One way to address the quantity surveyor crisis is to hire more apprentices. Taking on apprentices can be a great way to attract young professionals into the construction industry, especially since quantity surveying apprenticeship is fairly easy to obtain, from Sciences Apprentice to 2-year Geospatial or Surveying Technician and 5-year Chartered Surveyor Apprentice.
The Department for Education released a report about apprenticeships statistics in January 2019, which shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of construction and building apprenticeships over the past five years, and these include internships for quantity surveyors. While the increasing number of apprenticeships plays a role in addressing the shortages in the labour market, this is still not enough to address the issues concerning the quantity surveyor crisis for the long term.
Construction Firms Recruiting
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, some construction firms are still receiving multiple new projects, so there is still an ongoing increase in the recruitment of quantity surveyors. Several studies show that the growth in construction jobs has outpaced the increase in jobs in some other industries over the recent years. According to the ONS, there were 29,000 vacancies in the construction industry during the -month review, which increased 16% from the following year.
It’s clear that there is still a shortage of quantity surveyors, which might be due in part to Brexit. However, several other factors also come into play, such as the ageing working population and the lack of education, training, and development of skilled surveyors.