Overview of the property and constuction sector
Offering a variety of opportunities - from technical roles to those in management or engineering - the property and construction sector is certainly worth considering as you plan your graduate career
What areas can I work in?
Employment opportunities in property and construction can be grouped into:
- building control;
- building services engineering;
- civil engineering;
- construction management;
- estate management;
- facilities management;
- historic buildings conservation;
- housing management;
- property including estate agencies, commercial and residential property management, property development and valuation;
- structural engineering;
- surveying including building surveying, quantity surveying and land surveying;
- town and country planning.
There are also graduate opportunities in business functions such as sales, marketing, HR and finance.
For examples of job roles in this sector, see graduate jobs in property and construction.
Who are the main graduate employers?
Some of the largest companies in the UK construction sector are:
- Balfour Beatty;
- Bam Construct UK;
- Barratt Developments PLC;
- Kier Group;
- Laing O'Rourke;
- VINCI Construction UK;
- Willmott Dixon.
Property and facilities management companies in the UK include:
- Carter Jonas;
- Colliers International;
- Cushman & Wakefield;
- Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL);
- Knight Frank;
Meanwhile, large property owners - such as retail companies and hospitality and leisure groups - recruit graduates for facilities management and property roles.
Jobs can also be found in architectural practices, construction consultancies and housing organisations.
In addition, there are opportunities with local authorities and infrastructure providers such as train companies. You may also be able to work with an organisation that owns historic properties, such as English Heritage or the National Trust.
What's it like working in the sector?
Graduates entering the property and construction sector can expect:
- to spend significant time on site;
- self-employment as an independent consultant to be possible with experience and chartered status;
- the satisfaction of working in a job with a tangible end product;
- work abroad to be possible with global consultancies.
To find out more about typical salaries and working conditions in your chosen career, see job profiles.
What are the key issues in the property and construction sector?
Workers in construction saw their wages increase by more than 6% in the year to October 2015, compared with less than 2% across the rest of the workforce, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This was partly due to a skills shortage, the RICS said in a January 2016 press release - with professionals such as quantity surveyors among those in particularly high demand. Positive data on house building towards the end of 2015, coupled with government plans to boost infrastructure spending by £12bn over the next five years, suggest that graduates could do worse than consider a career in this sector.
Meanwhile, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Future Trends Workload Index for November 2015 indicated that, following a difficult period, confidence levels in the profession stabilised at the end of the year - mainly driven by private sector housing. Large practices were the most buoyant, while only 2% of practices said that they expected to reduce their staff numbers in the coming months. Again, however, practices reported that it was taking more time to find new employees with appropriate skills, highlighting the value of postgraduate study and professional courses.
Elsewhere, facilities management is one of the fastest growing professions in the UK. Property is a main company asset and property management needs to be part of company strategy. Consequently, there are opportunities for jobs in-house with large companies or with specialist contractors. There's also an increase in related qualifications, such as Masters in applied facilities management and MBAs in facilities management.