Quantity Surveyors – what is causing the skills shortage?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a decline in the number of Quantity Surveyors across the Board within Civil Engineering and Construction. According to surveys, 65% of companies across Civil and Construction industries reported that there is a distinct lack of QS’s available for work.

Some argue that because of this shortage, Universities have been pushing through “not so great trainees”. The consensus being that Graduates lack the skillset to do the complicated job of a Quantity Surveyor at a level deemed acceptable by today’s fast paced market and its delivery targets.

But why is this? Surveys suggest that delivery pressure and lack of time for QS’ to mentor trainees play a big part. Old boys of the QS’ing world tell of stories of great mentors and being taken under wings, because they had the time to do so, whereas now, with a thinning market, trainees are being pushed and pulled through non-commercial routes such as Project Managers, thus losing valuable time to learn how to produce bills of Quantity or even run standard reports.

The shortage, we believe – has even impacted on the QS salary or pay rate. Whilst across the sectors QS pay rates can vary, certainly the lack of available QS’s has seen the reduction in QS’s wanting Permanent roles and a rise in Contractor numbers. Decent QS’s with significant experience know that they are well sought after in today’s market, enabling them to ask for more money in return.

I wonder if the real reason for the shortage is actually due to young people preferring to study within the ever-growing digital market. What are we doing to encourage youngsters to stay within Civil Engineering? We would love to hear your thoughts.

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