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

For specialist areas of the property and construction sector, including architecture, engineering, surveying and town planning, you'll need an accredited degree at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. Alternatively, you may be able to take a conversion course.

For some 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), while companies are always looking for IT and digital experts.

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

Some other professions, such as estate agent, do not necessarily require a degree.

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

What skills do employers want?

You will need to show:

  • commercial awareness
  • communication skills
  • IT literacy
  • negotiation skills
  • problem solving skills
  • project management skills
  • strong numeracy
  • strong time management
  • teamwork.

Where can I get work experience?

Some of the larger organisations in property and construction offer industry placements or summer internships, which are usually aimed at penultimate-year students.

Property firm Grosvenor recruits through its summer internship programme and supports successful graduates to study a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)-accredited Masters degree.

Savills offers the opportunity for final-year undergraduates to work shadow for one week. Similarly, you could contact the employer directly and arrange to shadow an architect, surveyor or town planner - to better understand what these professional roles entail.

The majority of organisations are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that may not advertise formal work placements, so you will need to approach them with a CV. As opportunities in smaller organisations are often found through word of mouth, it's important to build contacts. You should research employers carefully though, as some internships are only open to students already on RICS-accredited degrees.

Many degrees include an optional or compulsory sandwich component. Regardless, it's important to capitalise on any work experience opportunities offered by your university. Pursuing a voluntary construction project overseas is another option.

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

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

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

Many smaller organisations in this sector don't recruit through graduate schemes at set times, but as and when they need staff. Specialist press such as Building or recruitment sites such as Careers in Construction (CiC) may therefore be the best place to find vacancies.

Vacancies are often offered by and advertised on the websites of professional associations, while you could also contact a specialist recruitment agency such as Randstad.

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

Construction apprenticeships

Full-time apprenticeships are widely available in the property and construction sector at intermediate and advanced level, in areas including bricklaying and painting. Providers include large employers such as Barratt and Skanska.

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

Elsewhere, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) offers a higher apprenticeship in construction management, which sees participants 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.