Author: Cliff Kemp
As most of us who make our living from the Construction sector are aware, the explosive growth of technology and the mind-boggling array of careers on offer has caused a crippling ‘brain-drain’ away from white collar Construction roles over the past 20 years.
Together with the shortage of skilled blue-collar workers, I can’t help but think that to the younger generation, construction just seems “a bit too much like hard work”.
To be fair, I can see why skateboarding over to your sleep-pod after a hard morning of dreaming up new iphone apps might seem more attractive than being stood in the driving rain by the side of the new A36 slip road you are helping to build.
As someone who has spent their entire recruitment career turning over stones and looking down the back of the sofa for qualified quantity surveyors, I can honestly say that demand for these coveted and elusive individuals has never been higher and supply never lower.
They are like an English footballer who can shoot with both feet and wants less than £100k per week…..Who rides a unicorn into training every day.
Cultural reasons started the quantity surveyor drought but this was later exacerbated by the global downturn. Many were forced out of the industry and entry became even less attractive.
Just 14 years after picking up my first QS CV, I am now seeing salary demands from assistant level QSs that would have been standard for a senior chartered candidate “back in the day”.
This isn’t because of an evil, hand-wringing recruitment industry trying to squeeze their clients dry by inflating salaries. It’s due to pure market forces of supply and demand. Everyone you speak to has “a mate at Blah & Blah who has the same experience as me but gets a company helicopter and a box at Wembley and……..and……….”
In the salary ‘stand-off’, employers simply blinked first.
The feedback from clients is that, more often than not, they are paying for what they thought was a Sergio Aguero and getting a Titus Bramble.
Surveying. It’s a funny old game.
We are fortunate in this country to have a talented and committed Surveying community whom set the standard for the rest of the World and many probably should be flown into work every day on a Learjet but the current salary trend ending in disaster is as inevitable as Crystal Palace’s relegation.
With the role of the QS such a crucial one in the construction process and the necessity to have suitably qualified individuals performing the role, these issues aren’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. The silence from Whitehall in respect of the skills shortage, is deafening.
And the shortage is worsening. At Brandon James, the number of registered vacancies on our swanky new database ticks over quicker than Romelu Lukaku’s bank balance.
So if you are thinking about your first job or a change of career, park your dreams of playing at Old Trafford, The Emirates or Vicarage Road, hang up your boots and grab your calculator.