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Training out of the surveying crisis – Countrywide

by: Paul Chapman
  • 13/08/2013
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Training out of the surveying crisis – Countrywide
The recent upturn in mortgage market activity is encouraging for the whole of the UK housing market. Increases in transactional mortgages and remortgages, due to more favourable rates, means the quantity of property surveys required by lenders and potential buyers has increased.

This is putting pressure on surveyor resources, which are lower now as a result of the market downturn in 2008. It was at this point that many members of the surveying workforce decided to retire, leave the industry or turn to alternative sources of work.

Since then, the number of qualified surveyors joining the profession hasn’t kept pace with those retiring or leaving, let alone kept up with any increase in demand. The surveying population has re-sized for a £150bn gross lending market, so a 10% increase on this would mean that the industry is hundreds of surveyors short of what it will need to meet any further increase in demand.

Despite significant factors leading to the reduction of residential surveyors actively working in the industry, there are things the industry can do to help increase capacity, including encouraging surveyors back to the residential surveying market, utilising the expertise of current registered surveyors and probably most important of all, introducing new blood into the profession.

One thing is for sure simply recruiting surveyors to move from one firm to another will not help achieve the overall required increase in capacity needed. In fact, in the short-term it will slow it down through notice and induction periods.

Introducing new blood into the surveying profession is certainly one of the key solutions. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), the number of graduates competing for each graduate job in 2013 has risen over 50% from 2012 in some sectors, with on average 85 applications for each graduate job.

The third most popular graduate schemes in the UK are those in the banking and financial services sector, with 115 applicants for every graduate job. How many graduates have thought about jobs in the residential surveying profession and is the industry as a whole doing enough to make the profession appealing to the younger generation?

With these statistics showing that there are more graduates than jobs available, more surveying firms should introduce graduate and trainee surveying schemes to attract new entrants into the residential surveying profession, with the opportunity to develop a lifelong career.

We need to work together as an industry to re-engineer the surveying process and be more innovative. Introducing these sorts of schemes and encouraging younger people to join the profession is key to the longevity.

Industry bodies such as CML and RICS should get the key parties from within the industry together to develop long-term solutions that will protect the future of the surveying profession.

Paul Chapman is managing director at Countrywide Surveying Services

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