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Property & construction Career Pathways & Advice

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Property is an important sector – one that shapes where we work and how we live our lives. Think about it: every single building you enter has been directly affected by someone working in the industry.

No matter what your skills, background or personality, property has a job for you. It’s a huge and varied sector, with so many more opportunities than solely being an estate agent!

The industry makes sure that we make the most out of land and out of property, from planning and building through to the sale of properties.

Because of the wide scope of the work in this industry there are many different jobs, within a large number of exciting companies.

Consider the scope of property sales in the UK in December 2017 to get an idea of the scale of the industry: according to the Office of National Statistics there were over 100,000 residential sales and over 10,000 non-residential sales that month. This is a stat just for the one part of the work property staff complete, and one at the end of the process.

Work in the property industry can include:

  • Conducting building surveys

  • Working in planning and land development, such as getting planning permission

  • Looking into a property’s impact on the environment

  • Valuing land or property

  • Increasing the value of land or property

  • Selling, buying, letting or renting property and land

No matter your background, skills or ambitions the property industry has many different career routes that could be perfect for you.

Progression opportunities

In terms of progression, moving up in the industry can take a few years – whichever part of it you’re in.

The ultimate aim of a surveyor is to become chartered, and this can be achieved through training, exams and study within a company and through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Architects and town planners can work their way up through the ranks of their particular area by keeping up to date with technical developments and seeking out more prestigious projects and opportunities at bigger organisations.

Career development

Career development and training in property and construction is different depending on which particular part of the sector you are working within.

As a surveyor, you have two routes – technical or chartered. A technical surveyor will need two years of RICS training, followed by the Assessment of Technical Competence (ATC). Chartered surveyors can study for chartered status through an employer, in a process that will take a few years and involve logging their work and completing the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).

Architects have a set development path, and can expect significant pay increases and qualified status after three years of exams and training. You will need to secure qualifications from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in order to practice as an architect.

Related Companies

TitleHead OfficeIndustry
JLLLondon, Greater LondonProperty & construction

Earning potential

Pay varies within property and construction, with those in management positions earning the highest salaries. Here are a few average UK salaries for the sector, according to Payscale:

Land surveyor - £24,887
Building surveyor - £29,506
Commercial property surveyor - £41,846
Quantity surveyor - £32,103

Estate agent - £21,000 (+ commission)
Sales negotiator - £15,192

Technical coordinator - £34,162
Property development manager - £46,948

Architect - £33,683

Project manager, construction - £30,723

Property administrator - £18,770
Property manager - £23,275

Marketing manager - £45,000
Executive assistant - £32,000

Town planner - £27,118

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

Traditional degrees are still a great route into property, with a wider array of directly related courses than ever before.

Many universities now also offer courses working in partnership with professional bodies. For example, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) works with 30 universities to develop and accredit qualifications that will allow graduates to progress towards Chartered Membership of the RTPI.

Also, many employers offer specific schemes for graduates from all degree backgrounds, with fast track career progression in a number of roles. The application criteria and details of the scheme will depend on the individual employer.

If you’re a geography or environment science graduate, property and surveying might be an industry that allows you to use the skills and knowledge gained in your degree directly within your job. Equally, if you’re an architecture graduate you’re already on track towards this career. Business or economics related degrees or modules are also likely to be helpful.

How to get there

Graduate schemes are available to undergraduate and postgraduate students. As mentioned above, a property degree is not always necessary to join a graduate scheme. Many employers recruit undergraduates and postgraduates with non-property degrees and then fund any further higher education required.

Industry Bodies

Construction Industry Council (CIC)

British Property Federation

National Association of Property Buyers

Association of International Property Professionals

ARLA Propertymark (the UK's largest professional body for letting agents

NAEA Propertymark (National Association of Estate Agents)

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Royal Town Planning Institute

Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists

British Institute of Facilities Management

Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management

Landscape Institute