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A Guide To Quantity Surveying Jobs

Written by: RICS Recruit
Published on: 3 Apr 2023

A guide to quantity surveying jobs

Quantity surveying is perhaps the most popular career pathway in the built environment profession – and it’s easy to see why. This expert area of surveying practice calls for creative problem-solving on an expansive scale. It yields impressive salary prospects and great variety in managing exciting, innovative projects with great social impact in communities around the world. 

The quantity surveying pathway will give you a skillset that underpins the success of any construction project. Keep reading to learn why quantity surveyors are in demand, how you can develop as a quantity surveyor and which skills you’ll need to land your next role. 

Ready to kick-start your career? Check out the industry opportunities, roles and salaries for quantity surveyors available on RICS Recruit


What does a quantity surveyor do? 

A quantity surveyor manages the costs and contracts in construction projects. Working for a client or contractor, they are responsible for ensuring a project is completed within its allocated budget and meets the required quality standards. Learn more about the responsibilities of a quantity surveyor on the RICS website.


Are quantity surveyors in demand? 

Most definitely; due to a scarcity of new talent, many large UK employers are seeking quantity surveyors. This is because quantity surveyors have a key role in developing cities, using their knowledge of issues like urbanisation, sustainability and resource scarcity to inform construction cost planning. 

Quantity surveyors possess two main areas of expertise which keep them in demand:

Cost management

Quantity surveyors are skilled at estimating project costs, tracking expenses and identifying cost-saving opportunities. They use a range of tools and techniques such as value engineering, life-cycle costing and risk management to help them organise and advise their staff and client appropriately. 

Contract management

Quantity surveyors are also experts in managing contracts; in negotiating contracts, interpreting contract documents and ensuring all parties comply with their contractual obligations. They work closely with other construction stakeholders to complete a project according to a contract’s terms and are adept at resolving disputes and issues related to contracts. 


Is quantity surveying a good degree?

An RICS accredited degree in quantity surveying is highly attractive to employers. This degree teaches the critical industry knowledge and skills to evaluate and apply construction management practices as a quantity surveyor and guarantees a high standard of professional and ethical competence.

For many employers, having an RICS accredited degree shows that applicants share their professional values. Likewise, they are committed to supporting trainee quantity surveyors to achieve chartered status as part of their professional development. 

Graduates with a non-accredited degree in quantity surveying (or a degree in an unrelated subject) can also become a chartered quantity surveyor by completing a postgraduate qualification through a graduate or trainee scheme or a postgraduate conversion course.


How much do quantity surveyors earn?

The average starting salary for quantity surveying jobs is £25,000 a year, working 37-40 hours per week. You can expect to earn a base salary of around £39,000 when you first become chartered and later earn up to £80,000. 

To learn more about salaries, check out quantity surveying jobs in your region. 


What skills do you need to become a quantity surveyor?

You can bring many transferable skills to a quantity surveying career, even from an unrelated subject. Still, a good trick is to match your skills to the job – and if your skills don’t match, then to use all training opportunities to help you get there. 

Here’s our list of essential skills for landing trainee quantity surveying jobs:  

  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal
  • Strong IT skills and comfortable learning new technologies
  • Strong mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Adaptability and enthusiasm to work in a consultancy environment
  • Strong interpersonal skills for relationship building with clients
  • Motivation to develop yourself and achieve professional accreditation 
  • Ability to work in a team and independently


Even when applying for your first quantity surveyor role, it’s useful to know the top skills high earning surveyors have. Employers value applicants with a mindset that reflects their industry, especially if they possess the skills to go with it. 

There is always value in leveraging your existing skills, contacts and experience in a competitive job market. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet every criteria – showing drive and enthusiasm to develop your skills can go a long way. With construction projects at a record boom, it’s an excellent time to enter the surveying profession – and worthwhile to know how to take advantage of the skills gap


Career progression paths for quantity surveyors

Quantity surveyors will encounter great advancement opportunities as they gain more experience. You may progress to a senior management role or decide to move into a related field. A quantity surveyor often has core skills they can transfer across specialisms, more so if they have experience in managing the right projects. 

After achieving chartered status, you can practice globally, go into private partnership or start your own consultancy firm. 


Starting out as a trainee quantity surveyor

Getting your first quantity surveyor role is as challenging as it is exciting. Not only are quantity surveyors in high demand; this is a highly rewarding career that offers great responsibility, specialist knowledge and a promising starter salary. 

Entry to the profession is also more accessible, with many employers willing to support you to qualify through quantity surveying degree apprenticeships, from school leaver to postgraduate level. Meanwhile, your professional development will continue throughout your career, connecting you with opportunities to work on projects all over the world. 


Feeling inspired? Learn how these surveyors got into their first surveying roles.

Get advice with choosing references for trainee quantity surveying jobs. For all things related to graduate surveying, visit the RICS Recruit Graduate Hub