The higher your level of RICS professional qualification, the higher your salary.
Starting salaries for graduate property surveyors
When searching for a graduate job in property, you’ll find most employers advertising ‘competitive’ pay or ‘structured’ salary packages. In effect this means a typical starting salary of £20,000 to £30,000, at least with the larger employers. The salaries do vary according to location. Graduates based in London tend to earn salaries closer to the top end of the scale, but of course have higher living costs to contend with.
Some employers have broken their silence on graduate pay, but they are the exception: JLL, for example, confirms in its graduate careers brochure that it pays £23,000–£30,000 depending on the scheme and region.
Graduates in the UK typically earn slightly more in London than they do outside of the capital. For example, the Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends guide 2019 reports that graduate general practice surveyors in London could expect to earn around £25,000–£28,000. Graduate surveyors outside of London were reported to earn less: a new graduate in north-west England could expect £22,000–£26,000, while one in Scotland may earn £20,000–£23,000. These figures are compiled from the candidates placed in general practice surveying firms by recruitment agency Hays over the last twelve months. They may not be indicative of what larger property firms offer to graduates, but do illustrate the general trend of graduates earning more in London. However, living costs in London are much higher than in the rest of the UK. More details on the differences between working in London and in the regions for graduate surveyors can be found here.
The 2019 annual survey report from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE, formerly known as AGR) reports that the median staring salary for graduates working in the built environment is £26,900. However, please keep in mind that this figure may not be entirely representative of what you can expect. As the data used to calculate this median figure included salaries from property, building and quantity surveyors and was from a small, self-selected sample from within the ISE's 153 members.
Salaries for RICS-chartered property surveyors
Graduates on internet forums have indicated that the salaries at their firms increase when you pass your APC with RICS or the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Avison Young states that its graduates’ salaries are reviewed upon reaching chartered status.
The annual RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards & Attitudes Survey 2019 has found that, from 3,461 respondents from a range of experience levels, the average salary for property professionals was £48,000. The survey also found that qualification with the RICS led to a 38% higher base salary and that the higher the level of RICS professional qualification a professional has, the higher their salary. Keep in mind, however, that this trend may, in large part, be due to the increase in experience and responsibilities of the individuals surveyed, rather than purely as a result of the level of membership.
The survey found that on average a professional without RICS qualification earns £35,000, an AssocRICS earns £40,000, a MRICS earns £51,000 and a FRICS earns £66,975.
Some graduate employees have suggested to TARGETjobs Property that initially the most vital thing to look for when choosing a firm is whether it can give you the breadth and depth of work you need to gain chartership with RICS or RTPI, as opposed to the level of remuneration available. Once you’ve gained your professional qualifications, salary expectations arguably become more relevant.
Benefits and other incentives for property surveyors
A look at the property firms advertising graduate schemes on TARGETjobs indicates that many firms offer perks on top of salaries to reward and attract graduates. In fact, a lower salary could be bolstered by additional benefits, and sometimes these can be tailored to each individual’s preference. The most common benefits at graduate property firms include:
- annual holiday entitlement (ranging from 23–27 days depending on the firm; Dexters also offers birthdays as extra holiday)
- season ticket loan (offered by firms such as JLL among others)
- childcare vouchers (offered by firms such as Savills among others)
- life assurance cover (offered by firms such as BNP Paribas Real Estate among others)
- retail vouchers/discount (offered by firms such as Avison Young among others)
- paid study leave (offered by firms such as Savills among others)
- cycle to work scheme – a government initiative where you save both tax and national insurance contributions on the cost of the cycle or cycle equipment (offered by firms such as Montagu Evans among others)
- private healthcare (offered by firms such as JLL among others)
- sports and wellbeing initiatives (offered by firms such as Montagu Evans among others)
- gym membership/subsidy (offered by firms such as Avison Young among others).
Typical bonuses for property surveyors
Some employers, including JLL, Montagu Evans and BNP Paribas Real Estate, also offer performance-related bonuses. The Rewards & Attitudes Survey suggested that the average annual bonus of those who had been in the profession for fewer than two years is in the region of £2,200. This average increased to £5,000 for those who had been in the profession for five to ten years and to £9,000 for those who had been in the profession for over 30 years.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all firms pay bonuses to graduates and not all of the professionals surveyed will have received a bonus.
Average salary for experienced property professionals by job role
The Rewards & Attitudes Survey found that across the UK property profession the overall average salary is roughly £48,000. The survey also examined the average salaries of different specialisms within the field. It found the following:
- The average salary at a developer or real estate investment trust: £56,650
- The average salary for a managing agent in facilities manager: £45,000
- The average salary for a service provider in facilities management: £49,000
- The average salary in investment/fund management: £75,000
- The average salary in residential agency: £35,000
- The average salary in residential block management: £37,947
NB: The survey was completed by 3,461 UK surveying professionals – 39% of whom had over 16 years’ experience, 40% had 5–15 years’ experience and 20% had worked for fewer than four years in the industry. (Percentages may have been rounded up or down by RICS and MacDonald.)