We recently met with two professionals to discuss the potential skills shortage which the industry is facing. To stimulate debate, we posed the following statement - never mind millennials, we should recognise the ability of experienced surveyors to learn and adapt. Discuss.

Shyam Visavadia MRICS

Project Manager, Faithful+Gould and Founder, Graduate Surveyors, Dubai

It’s estimated that millennials will comprise around 75% of the global workforce by 2025, so with such strong competition for the best talent, it’s crucial that employers develop clear strategies to attract and retain tomorrow’s leaders.

Instead of exacerbating the industry’s skills shortage by relying solely on an experienced but ageing workforce, surveying firms should be embracing millennials, as they are a powerful generation of workers who have a strong influence on the way in which we work. They have grown up with social media and smart devices – vital tools for a modern business – which many baby boomers find difficult to grasp.

They also have a different outlook to management and work culture, which can complement corporate strategy and business development. For too long, millennials have been forced to adapt to an outdated, hierarchical culture that can suppress their ability to naturally flourish within the workplace.

The reason many graduates aspire to work for firms such as Google and Apple is because of work cultures and management styles. These organisations provide an environment of meritocracy, where ideas and suggestions are embraced, not frowned upon. As a millennial working within the property and construction industry, I have found many of my employers adopt a “my way or the highway” approach which, in my opinion, isn’t a sustainable one. The business landscape is

changing and millennials have little corporate loyalty. If employers don’t work harder to retain young workers, they will leave for the competition or pursue other creative or entrepreneurial ventures.

Dean Carrick MRICS

Associate, Doig+Smith, Edinburgh

It is evident that the industry has recently focused on the development of the more youthful contingent of our workforce – there are rafts of industry awards for young surveyor of the year or youth development, but there don’t appear to be any that specifically reward the more experienced.

Some may see this as positive discrimination. The industry is awash with new directions, new technologies and new ideas, which should be embraced and championed, and sometimes the best people to do this are those with no predilections or agenda to refute that modernisation is required. Having said that, at the basis of our profession are key requirements and essential skills, and some of these can only be honed through experience.

Experience is a journey, not simply a destination, and it’s often necessary to experience mistakes to enable professional practice to be rich, diverse and informed. By 2020, one-third of the UK workforce will be over the age of 50, so it’s important we harness the skills and expertise that older workers bring to the table.

I came to surveying a little later in life, so as a dog that was taught new tricks, I am able to see how those with experience have the potential benefits to enhance the profession alongside the driven youth that swell our ranks. The discussion therefore shouldn’t be about experience versus youth – it should be about how the exuberance of young professionals can be harnessed by the experienced and knowledgeable. I would like to think the profession can, if not needs to, embrace all ages in development.

This article was originally published in Modus

What's your view? Let us know by commenting below

Comments (2)

  1. A balance of youth and experience is required with proper on the job training. Firms will have to entice the youth to work by offering housing, deposits paid for rental or company accommodation. Housing affordability and lack of stability/affordability within the rental market is the biggest issue to face the millennials.

    Donald Leslie Donald Leslie, 29 August at 11:09AM

  2. I do not think that the RICS and the major surveyor employers appreciate how adaptable the older generation of surveyors are. I have been FRICS since 1990. I have worked through the bust and boom of the residential market. When work is short we are "dumped" by the big employers. We are adaptable so go and do something much more interesting. What the RICS and employers do not appreciate is that if they dump us once we will not work for them again. Had you treated us decent you would not have this problem. As an ex surveyor employee I have no sympathy for you. As a potential employer.. I work alone!
    David Gilbert FRICS

    David Gilbert David Gilbert, 29 August at 11:40AM

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