Our QS readership is split on the impact of the profession making it to a list of endangered professions. Some reckon it's going to burn a hole in their pockets while others see it as a short term fix for overworked staff.
Never underestimate a British QS scorned, to completely bastardise a well-know quote. Such is the impression from the news we revealed this week that the RICS had won its battle to make the profession an endangered species. QS-ing is now on a Home Office list of professions that are facing skills shortages which will make it easier for foreign professionals to gain visas to enter and work in the UK.
The campaign was reacting to extreme concern amongst the commanders of the profession, ie senior partners of big practices, who are currently grappling with a long term shortages of skilled staff. This stems back to the downturn in the early 1990s which effectively led to the disappearance of a generation of QS’s in their late 30s/early 40s. Combine that with a continuing boom in the sector and the need to get as many decent people as possible, regardless of where they are from, intensifies.
The success of the campaign is less popular with the troops judging by the initial responses to our story. They are convinced that opening the door for Johnny Foreigner will mean one thing – a drop in pay packets. “This is the worst news I have read all year,” sighs Timothy Hegarty. “The shortage of quality staff will increase as this new influx drives down wages and more quantity surveyors move abroad for higher wages.” Sam is in agreement, claiming that such a campaign is “like putting a tiny plaster on a huge gash”. “I think RICS needs to be looking at the real cause of the problem - eg the lack of awareness of the industry and the careers on offer…. When I was at school (a grammar in the south east) the only careers pushed down our throats by the advisers where law, I.T and business type jobs - property and construction never came up.”
Malaysian QS Herga Wong has a slightly different viewpoint. Herga argues for some realism. “Think about the economy of the country (construction industry & property), about no more working long hours - as more resources to take up some of your work, allowing you to delegate your work more efficiently… Get real, not everyone wants to come to work in the UK, especially with the (high) income tax, the high living expenses and the better pay packages in the Middle East. The demand will always be there, the value will be maintained.” And J Winson is not expecting a surge of new entrants to the UK QS population. “I believe the actual numbers employed from overseas will continue to be low and you won't see the referred influx, but a complementary increase. Companies will still be reluctant to go through the administrative process of recruiting from overseas despite the current shortage.”