Graduate quantity surveyor jobs

How to get a job in quantity surveying or building surveying

Most graduate quantity surveying jobs or schemes can be found with:

  • Construction companies
  • Housebuilders
  • Specialist cost management consultancies or chartered surveying firms
  • public sector organisations
However, a few vacancies can be found with utilities and infrastructure organisations, with property firms or within the public sector. The majority of building surveying graduate roles are with large property firms, but there will also be vacancies at:
  • Housebuilders and housing associations
  • Construction companies, particularly consultancies
  • Specialist chartered surveying firms and estate agencies
  • Local authorities

Some employers require graduates to have at least a 2.1, but others will accept 2.2s. Depending on the employer, the application process will range from a fairly simple CV and interview set-up to a more complex one involving an online application, online testing, telephone interviews and an assessment centre.

Do you apply for graduate jobs or graduate schemes?

You can either apply for a specific graduate job or trainee position at a particular location or you can join a graduate scheme. On a graduate scheme, you may be placed in one location long term or you may be expected to relocate to several offices or projects throughout the scheme.

The top skills needed to get a job in quantity surveying or building surveying

Both building surveyors and quantity surveyors need to:

  • Be numerate. Essential for the job of a quantity surveyor, commercial manager or cost consultant as they price construction work, this ability also underpins much of the work of a building surveyor.
  • Have relationship-building and client management skills. Essential when interacting with clients and other professionals and colleagues. Quantity surveyors are likely to liaise with contractors and subcontractors, while building surveyors will be dealing with homeowners, tenants and other interested parties such as insurers.
  • Be good negotiators. Quantity surveyors negotiate costs on a construction project, while building surveyors may negotiate repair work or a financial settlement.
  • The ability to retain building regulations and legislative requirements. And to apply it in real life situations.
Read up on the other skills that quantity and building surveyors need.

What is it like to work as a graduate quantity surveyor or building surveyor?

The work of a quantity surveyor (also known as a commercial manager or cost manager) will differ considerably depending on which stage of the construction project you work for: the design or the build stage.
Find out more about what a graduate quantity surveyor job involves.
Quantity surveyors who work on the design stage will usually work for a construction consultancy; the work will be office-based with typical office hours and much of their time is spent working out the costs of different designs and preparing information for tender. Quantity surveyors who work on the build stage typically work for a construction contractor and will be based on a construction site, with longer hours and earlier starts. They will split their time between a site office and being out on site, checking that work has been done, pricing the work and paying subcontractors. The exact role at other types of employers will differ according to the employer’s remit. Quantity surveyors work in multidisciplinary project teams, alongside site managers and engineers among professionals.

A building surveyor’s day will typically be split between being out on clients’ sites (or project sites) carrying out technical inspections and surveys, and their offices, where they will typically write their reports. As there is so much travel, many employers require you to have a driving licence. Working hours are usually typical for an office. It’s a very sociable job, where you will liaise with clients and professionals in other fields. As the job involves considerable interaction with clients, it is important that you can express technical concepts in a way that can be understood by people without technical knowledge.
Find out more about what graduate building surveyors do in their jobs

What degrees do you need to become a quantity surveyor or building surveyor?

To become a graduate quantity surveyor or building surveyor you need a subject relevant degree accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). If your undergraduate degree isn’t accredited, you can either:

  • Study a postgraduate conversion course – usually a PGDip or a masters - and then apply for a job
  • Apply for a ‘non-cognate’ graduate scheme: that is, apply to an employer who will hire you without an accredited degree and pay for you to study the conversion course while working for them.

There are more non-cognate graduate schemes available in quantity surveying than building surveying.

Read our advice on how to get on a non-cognate quantity surveying or building surveying graduate scheme.