The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued a fresh call to female A-level talent in Northern Ireland to consider a career in the land, property and construction sectors, and help meet increasing demand for a more diverse workforce and profession, whilst bridging the skills gap.
Dr Patrice Cairns, RICS Policy Manager in Northern Ireland, said: “Unfortunately women only account for just 24% of our student membership. This is a great shame, as there are equal opportunities for women in the industry. But we do recognize that one of the biggest obstacles in attracting more talent from under-represented groups is the influencers, such as teachers, parents and careers advisors who are not aware of the vast range of surveying careers available for all.
“With this in mind – along with the need to alleviate the skills epidemic – we’re taking steps to raise awareness of the surveying profession amongst young people and its appeal for both sexes. We are about to launch our Inspire 2020 programme, which will involve going into schools and talking to children aged 13-15 about the roles and opportunities available for all in the industry.”
RICS member Michelle Atkinson, Atkinson Surveying commented: “I’ve been in the industry now for 20 years and it doesn’t bother me that its predominantly male orientated as it hasn’t held me back from grasping opportunities, gaining experience and progressing up the ranks. But the industry would certainly benefit from more women as we know that a strong gender balance in the workplace makes better business sense.”
Michelle adds: “We are also facing our worst construction skills crisis in 20 years, so we really do need to get away from the common myth that surveyors all wear hard hats and work on building sites. The property industry – particularly the construction sector – is changing and relies less on physical strength and more on knowledge and relevant work experience, so there really is a vast range of opportunities for all, not just the boys.”
So, what do surveyors do? In simple terms, without surveyors – nothing would get built. Surveyors design, value and protect all our physical assets around the world – from our homes, airports, schools, shopping outlets to sports stadiums, historic buildings and even roads, lakes and forests.
RICS is also working with vloggers to showcase how an interest in technology, fashion or retail can lead to such a career in surveying.
RICS Policy Manager in Northern Ireland, Dr Patrice Cairns adds: “The increasing use of technology, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), drones, virtual reality and augmented reality, is changing the skill set necessary for many roles in the property industry. This is helping to attract a more diverse range of professionals to the sectors. However, more needs to be done. We need to ensure that an industry that is shaping the world around us is not being decided by one group of people.”
Download a copy of the RICS Surveying Careers Guide to find out more about the diverse range of roles available in the land, property, construction and infrastructure sectors, including the Apprenticeship routes available: www.rics.org/careers