The Career Progression of a Quantity Surveyor

Posted by Daria Tkach, Senior Recruitment Consultant on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Quantity Surveying is one of our core specialist areas, and we have been finding jobs for quantity surveyors in the construction industry at different levels for almost 20 years.

A career in Quantity Surveying presents great and diverse opportunities for professionals across different construction sectors. Quantity Surveyors are in demand at the moment and with many QS jobs available in the UK and overseas locations including Hong Kong & Asia as well as Canada this is a great profession to get into.

In this article I will cover the key stages in the common career path of quantity surveyors.

Graduate and Assistant Quantity Surveyors

Often starting a career in quantity surveying can begin with an undergraduate degree in quantity surveying – these are accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Graduates from other disciplines can also start this profession by completing RICS’ postgraduate conversion course.

A key part of this stage involves supporting the work of senior surveyors with contracts, procurement, cost forecasting and profit and loss monitoring.

It is beneficial to join a reputable construction company at the start of your career that can provide support and experience that you need to develop in your role. You can expect to work for 2-3 years at this level before progressing into a more intermediate role and title.

Sometimes accountants and book keepers, or office administration people can get into a career in quantity surveying ‘by chance’ when working with a construction contractor or consultancy when they show aptitude to make the move across.

Intermediate Quantity Surveyors

In order to progress to an Intermediate Quantity Surveyor level and lose the “Junior” or ‘’Assistant’’ title, you should be able to work independently and manage large scale or complicated commercial projects with little to no constant supervision. This means more responsibility for costing and commercial reporting of projects, as well as being confident and capable to represent your company in meetings and in correspondence with clients.

We have found that Quantity Surveyors at this level are a very marketable asset in a market desperately short of skilled people. Capable Intermediate Quantity Surveyors can command impressive increases in salary over a short period of time, as employers in the construction industry are keen to employ QS with 2-3 years’ experience who have already been trained.

Quantity Surveyors and Senior Quantity Surveyors

A Project Quantity Surveyor usually manages the whole project from start to finish. This will include being able to estimates, cost control, budgeting and also use their experience to manage subcontractors, suppliers and generate reports and final accounts. As a lead on many projects, you’ll be expected to manage each aspect from project award and inception to completion.

At this point it is valuable to make a decision about the specific sector which you would want to specialise in, which can allow you to provide even more value and experience to the organisation you’re working for.

The requirements vary but for a Senior Quantity Surveyor role usually over 5 years of experience are preferred. This role usually involves coaching and supporting other junior members of the team. Becoming a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with RICS is demonstrates that you possess valuable experience, and highest levels of regulated professional practices and ethical principles. This can help to reach the next step in your career, as employers in the conduction industry favour a MRICS qualified candidates, as a result this elite qualification enhances career opportunities and in turn, increased earnings.

Managerial and leadership positions

At this level, common job titles of the role can be Managing Quantity Surveyor, Commercial Manager, Associate and even Commercial Director. These positions typically take over 10 years within quantity surveying field to reach and require extensive good quality experience to have been gained in a commercial role. It is expected that you will have in-depth knowledge of the sector you are entering and will be familiar with the systems and processes within it. Typically, such positions are less frequently advertised and the selection for such roles is a very thorough process.

Other Career Options for Quantity Surveyors

There are opportunities for experienced Quantity Surveyor professionals to move into related sectors such Claims & Dispute resolution, Bank Monitoring, and many others. The experienced Quantity Surveyor, Bank Monitor and Claims and Dispute professionals in quantum and delay all have the advantage that their skills are also of interest to construction industry contractors and consultants based around the world.  Maxim Recruitment offer a range of QS and construction career opportunities both in the UK and around the world, most notably in Hong Kong, Canada and Australia at the current time.

Take a look at all of our different Quantity Surveyor opportunities here.

We look forward to helping you progress your Quantity Surveying career soon.

Daria Tkach
Daria Tkach
Senior Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment

Daria is a Senior Recruitment Consultant with day-to-day responsibility for researching, shortlisting, contacting, and interviewing premium construction industry candidates. Daria works with our UK team to help construction industry jobseekers into exciting new construction jobs with our market leading employer clients. Daria also covers the Canadian market as part of her international recruitment responsibilities. Her focus is on Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and other major cities in Canada.