The talent shortage - Why it pays to be Chartered... and why it may be time to shift your strategy.

During the past 12 months I have seen a definite shift in hiring patterns in the Surveying market. Due to the specialist focus of my work I am often asked by employers and job seekers for a market overview, so here are my findings and how they may affect you.

The market today

With the construction sector growing and the talent pool shrinking, there is a collective need for Surveyors. However, rather than employers hiring anyone with a degree in Surveying and a year’s practical experience, the demand is for Chartered Surveyors, with the golden candidate being those with 3-5 years PQE (post qualification experience).

Employers have been shifting interest away from recruiting experienced Graduate Surveyors and those who are on their APC journey and after considerable discussion it appears that the overriding reason is growth.

Why

As the market has grown, so have most companies. People have been promoted and those with management responsibility have been given Trainees and Graduates to develop and mentor through their APC. However, as we all know, working towards Chartered status takes a minimum of 2 years and any company with a half decent APC program must dedicate a considerable amount of time and resource to this process.

This situation has left companies with a “bottom heavy” structure that has reduced the ability for their key fee earners to bill and develop the business.

In this market everyone’s golden candidate is one who can bill from day 1, potentially bringing business with them on the way. These candidates allow a company to grow their revenue and market share quickly without the requirement for considerable training or investment.

Job seekers

This can leave you in a tricky situation. You have qualifications, you have skills and you have experience but are not yet Chartered and so require valuable company resources to be available in order for you to reach a stand-alone billing status.

In order to take your next career step in this market you need a strategic approach to finding your next job, a bespoke job search to target companies that have the need for people at your level and the resources to help you reach Chartered status. I work with companies of all shapes and sizes and most recently I have placed Graduate Surveyors and those partway through their APC in to companies ranging from medium sized private practices to large multi-disciplinary consultancies. The trick is to find companies who are in the right stage of the growth process.

Employers

As you are no doubt finding, there are a finite number of Chartered Surveyors with the experience to bill from day 1 and it is a highly competitive recruitment market. Companies are doing everything they can to hang on to their Chartered staff. One client of mine recently delivered a 15% pay rise across the board.

Recruiting in this market is tough but I have recently seen two successful approaches: –

1).Define your offering – For a job seeker to consider your company in a competitive market, they need to have a clear view of what is on offer. From salaries to summer parties and CPD to progression, you need to define your offering to secure a job seekers attention.

2).Change your growth structure – Holding out for that golden candidate could be holding back your whole company. Whilst waiting for the perfect candidate to arrive I have seen companies restructure and redistribute responsibility to allow them to employ the talented and highly ambitious stars of the future.

Conclusion

Go bespoke. Job seekers, tailor your approach to finding a new job by utilising recruiters that offer a genuinely bespoke job search. Employers, define your offering to attract the markets top talent or develop your strategy to open your company up to the gems of the Graduate world.

As always these are just my thoughts and I would love to hear your comments. You may have had a different experience or have a different opinion of the market and I would love to hear about it.

About me:
I am the founding Director of HD Surveyors Ltd, specialising in bespoke job searches for Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors across London and the South East. Feel free to get in touch if you are considering a move in the future. I would love to help.