Discover what qualifications and skills you'll need to break into the property and construction sector

For specialist areas of the property and construction sector, such as architecture and engineering, you need to study a specific accredited first degree. For surveying and town planning, you need to study an accredited degree at either first degree or postgraduate level.

A number of property companies are currently advertising graduate schemes for those without a related degree. These schemes offer support to new employees to gain relevant surveying or planning postgraduate professional qualifications.

For other areas, such as estate management, facilities management and construction management, a specialist degree may be an advantage but many entrants have other qualifications. A business-related degree may be required for graduate schemes in commercial areas such as marketing and human resources (HR).

Other professions, notably estate agents, do not necessarily require a degree.

Alternatives to full-time study include work-based apprenticeships with part-time study, in some cases at degree level.

The Chartered Surveyors Training Trust offers an advanced apprenticeship in surveying, which counts towards RICS associate membership, with the possibility of working towards chartered status.

Elsewhere, CITB offers a higher apprenticeship in construction management with study for a foundation degree in professional practice in construction operations management. It also offers a higher apprenticeship in sustainable built environment, with pathways in construction and the built environment, civil engineering and building services engineering.

For information on entry requirements and relevant qualifications, see job profiles.

What skills do employers want?

Graduate recruiters in the property and construction sector require candidates with the following skills:

  • problem solving;
  • numeracy;
  • the ability to work in a team;
  • project management;
  • communication and negotiation.

Where can I get work experience?

Some of the larger organisations in the construction sector offer 6-12 month industry placements or summer internships. Some employers use work experience to recruit for their graduate training schemes.

For example, property firm Grosvenor recruit through its summer internship programme and place successful graduates on a scheme with support to study a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredited Masters degree. Savills offer the opportunity for final-year undergraduates to shadow a Savills graduate for one week in areas such as surveying and planning.

However, you should research employers carefully as some internships are only open to students already on RICS-accredited degrees.

You could arrange to shadow an architect, surveyor or town planner to get an idea of what these professional roles entail.

The majority of organisations are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that may not advertise formal work placements, so you need to approach them with a CV to enquire about work experience. As opportunities in smaller organisations are often found through word of mouth, it is important to build up a network of contacts.

To find work placements and internships in the property and construction sector, search for work experience.

How do I find a graduate job in property and construction?

Large construction and property companies often have formal graduate entry schemes. These can be in technical areas, such as surveying, planning, engineering and environmental management, or commercial areas, including operational or project management.

Many smaller organisations in this sector do not recruit at set times through graduate schemes but as and when they need staff, so specialist press such as Building Magazine or recruitment sites such as Careers in Construction (CIC) may be the best way to find vacancies.

Professional associations such as the RICS and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offer vacancies, while the Institute of Residential Property Managers (IRPM) advertises jobseekers who are looking for a specific position.

To find jobs in the sector, search graduate jobs in property and construction.