RICS info graphic reveals age profile of its membership

Blog Author: 
Hilary Grayson

Over the Christmas break a fascinating (if somewhat frustrating) info graphic came to my attention.  Produced by RICS, it gives a snapshot of the UK RICS membership with the information broken down region by region.There are just over 75,300 surveyors in the whole of the UK.

The biggest regions by far are London (with 17,330 members) and the South East (with 12,915 members). Together they make up 40% of the overall UK membership – but I guess that is not really surprising when London generates about 22% of the GDP of the UK.

So what do all these London and South East based surveyors do? Well, that is why it is frustrating – it raises more questions than it answers. What I can glean is that in London 48% are in ‘Property’, 30% in ‘Construction’, 4% are in ‘Land’ and a mystifying 18% are in ‘Other’.  London can hold its head high though as the region with the most women surveyors – a whopping 15%!

London also somewhat skews the overall statistics when you look at the age profile of the membership. A very healthy 61% of the membership are 49 or younger with 39% who are 50 or over.

The other regions do not fair so well in the age profiles. In the South East, the second largest region, only 35% of the membership are under 49 and a whopping great 65% are slipping gracefully into retirement. And there is another frustration; although the info graphic lists all members, it does not state whether they are working or retired, so the South East may already be awash with retired surveyors.

The South West is no better. Here 39% are under 49 and 61% are 50 or over. Wales, smaller in number, has the same proportions. In the North the numbers look a bit healthier – 53% are over 50 in the North West, with 54% in the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside. 

But if you think about it, in the UK at least, RICS must have a bit of a problem. With just over half of its membership aged 50 and over, and assuming retirement at 65 (which is probably when most people still plan to retire – lucky them) it means that half of the membership have 15 years or  less left in practice. Looking at it another way, only 22% are aged 39 or under. Unless there is a massive recruitment drive, then not too far into the future the RICS must surely be wondering about its future, in the UK at least.

But RICS in its entirety is not my concern. While it is my professional body and it will always have a special place in my heart (I always say, “Cut me and I bleed purple”) I can’t fix all their problems, but releasing the Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation as a direct entry route into RICS is a start!

What I really want to know is the age profile of the valuers, and the residential valuers in particular.  We are awash with anecdotal evidence that suggests the age profile of Residential Valuers, the ones doing the valuations for the mortgage companies etc., is late 50s and 60s. These stats don’t contradict that, but there is not enough granular information to really understand the scale of the problem.

But RICS must know. It has just launched a survey for its members specifically asking for information about this topic. If you are a member and you are reading this, you can find the survey here, but you only have until the 18th January to respond (so you had better get your skates on).

While we wait for the results, we only have this to go on, but my prediction is that the survey validates what we have all been saying and what these stats do support – that the age profile of the Residential Surveyor is well into the upper age brackets.

Of course, what this does tell us is that our Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation is the equivalent of a knight in shining armour. Okay, a very small knight, and maybe I am over exaggerating a bit, but you get the drift! If you are thinking about a career in surveying , then surely there could not be a better time to enrol on a course, get qualified and get a couple of years of experience under your belt. RICS could be yours for the taking in a few years time.


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