Launch your career in property and construction by researching the types of job available, who the main employers are and what qualifications you'll need to get started

What areas can I work in?

Careers in the property and construction sector can be grouped into:

  • architecture
  • building control
  • building services engineering
  • building surveying
  • civil engineering
  • construction management
  • estate agencies
  • estate management
  • facilities management
  • historic buildings conservation
  • housing management
  • land surveying
  • property development
  • quantity surveying
  • structural engineering
  • town and country planning
  • valuation.

There is some crossover with the engineering and manufacturing sector. Employers in property and construction also require graduates in functions such as management, sales, marketing, finance and human resources (HR).

For examples of job roles in this sector, see property and construction jobs.

Who are the main graduate employers?

Some of the largest companies in the property and construction sector are:

  • Amey
  • Arcadis
  • Arup
  • Atkins
  • Balfour Beatty
  • BAM Construct UK
  • Barratt Developments
  • Carter Jonas
  • CBRE
  • Costain
  • Countrywide Group
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Grosvenor
  • GVA
  • JLL
  • Kier Group
  • Knight Frank
  • Lang O'Rourke
  • Lendlease
  • Mott Macdonald
  • Redrow
  • Savills UK
  • Skanska
  • VINCI Construction UK
  • Willmott Dixon.

In addition to these examples, jobs can be found in architectural practices, construction consultancies and housing organisations.

There are also opportunities with local authorities, infrastructure providers and organisations that own historic properties, such as English Heritage and the National Trust.

What's it like working in the sector?

You can expect:

  • a fast-paced working environment with strict deadlines
  • starting salaries of between £23,000 and £30,000 on graduate schemes
  • self employment to be possible with experience and chartered status
  • the opportunity to work abroad either full time or on individual projects
  • to spend significant time on site, even in management roles.

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. Search postgraduate courses or consider taking a conversion course.

In areas such as estate management, facilities management and construction management, a specialist degree can 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 HR, while larger companies are always looking for IT and digital experts.

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

Some other professions, such as estate agent, do not necessarily require a degree at all. Another route into this sector is to consider a construction apprenticeship.

For specific 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
  • strong numeracy
  • strong time management
  • teamwork.

Where can I get work experience?

Major employers in the property and construction sector often advertise industry placements and summer internships on their websites.

You should check whether you're eligible as these are sometimes restricted to penultimate-year students, or those studying a degree accredited by a professional body, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Most employers are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not formally advertise work placements or shadowing opportunities. You will need to make a speculative application to secure a position.

Meanwhile, many degrees in relevant subjects include optional or compulsory sandwich placements, giving you another opportunity to gain experience. Find out more about work experience and internships.

To explore work placements and internships that are available now, search for work experience in property and construction.

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

Large property and construction companies have formal graduate schemes in technical areas, such as surveying, planning, engineering and environmental management, as well as in commercial areas including operational or project management. Look at the careers section of their websites for more information.

Smaller organisations in the sector tend not to recruit through graduate schemes, but hire as and when they need new staff. Specialist press such as Building and recruitment sites such as Careers in Construction (CiC) are among the best places to find vacancies.

Jobs are often advertised on the websites of professional associations, while you can also use a specialist recruitment agency, for example Randstad.

Alternatively, search graduate jobs in property and construction.