Talent spotting

It’s that time of year again when X-Factor and I’m a Celebrity have ended and we have only Britain’s Got Talent to look forward to by way of death by a thousand cuts. But there is a serious issue around finding talent, especially within the surveying industry.

The industry has long struggled with attracting and retaining new entrants to the market. For some reason, surveying is not seen as a career that attracts students to explore in more detail. It seems that unless there is a familial tie, and your parents have some form of property-related expertise, it is not a profession that warrants further discussion.

But why is this? And should we, as an industry, be doing more? The economy, of course, has not helped. Many hundreds of surveyors who found themselves out of work during the depth of the last recession have since gone on to learn new skills, or left the industry altogether, which means there is a huge shortage in the number of quality valuation surveyors now available. That is not an insurmountable issue in the longer term if there is a sufficient pipeline of new talent coming through, but I worry that there isn’t.

Our industry is not seen as being particularly ‘sexy’. It is hard work, involving years of study and commitment for comparatively poor levels of pay – at least in the short term. And that often does not appeal to today’s generation that demands instant gratification and reward. Given its low profile, it is unlikely to feature strongly in any careers advice at school. Indeed when it is mentioned at all, it tends to be lumped together with ‘real estate’ and that means we are only a short step away from estate agency and diluting or losing our true value completely.

Certainly schools need to do more, but as an industry we need to do more too by offering more apprenticeships and meaningful internships to encourage the talent of the future.