Institution wins campaign to add profession to those facing skills shortages

QS’s have been added to a Home Office list of professions that are facing skills shortage following a campaign led by the RICS.

The profession is now on the national shortage occupation list. The move will allow firms to recruit skilled practitioners from abroad.

RICS spokesperson Michael Sullivan said: “There is widespread recognition of a chronic shortage of quantity surveyors. Firms have been struggling to recruit experienced UK based and overseas QS's for some time. Some large firms have had up to 60 vacancies each. Hopefully, with easier access to the pool of foreign, professionally qualified QS's, concerns about meeting the anticipated increase in construction work in the UK will shrink.

Whilst we applaud the government for this decision, it is not a long term solution but a short term fix. Industry must undertake real measures to ensure quantity surveying is attractive to those seeking a challenging career in the 21st century.”

Recent RICS research revealed there were around 6,500 QS vacancies across the UK in January 2007. 49% of these were unfilled for more than six months and 35% for more than 12 months.

Stuart Earl, partner at Gleeds, said: “It has not been a question of finding skilled QSs but keeping them. We have had to go through an awful lot of red tape. It’s been easy to come here when training, but once qualified they have to leave.”

He said Gleeds is hoping to attract skilled professionals from countries like South Africa, Australia and China. “Unfortunately QS is very much a UK and Commonwealth-centric profession,” he said.

Earl blames the lack of experienced surveyors on the early 1990s recession for driving skilled professionals away from the construction industry. “The whole industry has been complacent about attracting people to the profession. Salaries have escalated recently but we have a long way to go. Countries like Dubai are attracting our young surveyors.” he said.