Demand for newly qualified construction and property surveyors is set to outstrip supply by more than 2,000 by 2021, according to a new report from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. The study bases that projection on annual economic growth of 3%, but if yearly growth were to rise to 4% - the shortfall in the number of surveyors could double to 4,000. With the European Commission forecasting growth for Ireland to be 5.7% this year and 4.1% next year, that 4,000 projection looks more realistic.
The report's author Dr Róisín Murphy, from Dublin Institute of Technology, said a lack of understanding of the role of a surveyor may be deterrent for potential new employees. "People may not be fully aware of the breadth of the profession. There are in fact 12 professional groups under three key pillars - construction, property, and land surveying." These covers areas such as valuation, asset management, and geomatic surveying.
Dr Murphy said the situation is so serious that the lack of supply of suitably qualified surveying professionals is now the primary constraint to employment growth. She added that in order to address the shortfall in qualified surveyors, there needs to be greater awareness of the profession and it must be promoted, and invested in at third level. "We also need to ensure that the third-level sector has the capacity to meet the additional enrolment that needs to happen," she said.
She said the staff shortages are not just at entry level, with an increasing number of vacancies at senior level, which also need to be addressed. Most conservative estimates suggest we need to be building in the region of 30,000 new homes a year to catch up with demand in the housing market. Dr Murphy says a shortage of qualified surveyors is "not good for the housing crisis."
"But it's not only housing that surveyors are involved in, it's in every sector. When there is a shortage and potential wage inflation or tender price inflation, it can span not only house building and infrastructure, but also value for money in the roll-out of our NDP for example," she added.
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