Despite widespread challenges for those working in property and the built environment, such as rising material costs, supply chain disruptions and labour shortages, the UK construction industry is still expected to grow over the coming years

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.

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

You may also want to explore relevant graduate engineering jobs.

Who are the main graduate employers?

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

  • Amey
  • Arcadis
  • Arup
  • Atkins
  • Avison Young
  • Balfour Beatty
  • BAM Construct UK
  • Barratt Developments
  • Carter Jonas
  • CBRE
  • Countrywide
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Grosvenor Group
  • JLL
  • Kier Group
  • Knight Frank
  • Laing O'Rourke
  • Lendlease
  • Morgan Sindall
  • Mott MacDonald
  • Redrow
  • Savills UK
  • Skanska
  • VINCI Construction UK
  • Vistry Group (Bovis, Linden, Countryside Homes)
  • Willmott Dixon.

In addition to these major recruiters, 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 £23,000 to £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. You could consider taking a conversion course if you've already been to university.

Take a look at what you can do with a building and construction management degree.

You can also read more about construction management courses or search postgraduate courses in civil engineering and construction.

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.

For information on entry requirements and qualifications for specific roles, see our property and construction job profiles.

What skills do employers want?

The skills you need vary from job to job. For example, to be an estate agent, it's vital that you're a brilliant communicator and salesperson. Working as an architect - also see how to become an architect - demands great attention to detail, accuracy and creativity. Becoming a property developer requires the ability to negotiate deals and identify opportunities.

Skills shortages are a major problem in the construction industry. This means that you can impress employers and put yourself in a great position when it comes to job vacancies by demonstrating that you have:

  • commercial awareness
  • IT literacy
  • negotiation skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • strong numeracy
  • excellent time management
  • teamwork.

Find out more about the general skills that employers want.

If you do have the required skills, Go Construct has revealed that the ten best paying construction jobs include:

  • architect
  • bid manager
  • BIM (building information modelling) manager
  • civil engineer
  • commercial manager
  • construction director
  • electrical project manager
  • environmental engineer
  • planner
  • quantity surveyor.

Where can I get work experience?

Major employers in the sector often advertise industry work placements, summer internships and insight days on their websites.

Construction firms and property companies that offer work experience for school, college and university students, as well as career changers, include:

You should check whether you're eligible, as some construction internships are restricted to penultimate-year university 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 don't formally advertise opportunities - see working for a small business. It's therefore likely you'll need to make a speculative application.

Search for work experience in property and construction.

Where can I find property and construction graduate schemes?

The largest 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.

For example, Balfour Beatty runs a two-year technical graduate scheme that allows you to study towards a relevant professional qualification with industry bodies such as RICS and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

By joining Redrow's property graduate scheme, you can join either the divisional or group support development programme. With the former, you'll rotate across different areas of the business during the first year, and then get to specialise in the second year. This also includes a construction-based programme where you'll gain experience working on a Redrow development site. The group support scheme provides an opportunity to work in functions such as finance, marketing, IT, legal or sustainability.

Other employers that run property and construction graduate schemes include:

Search for property and construction graduate schemes.

Smaller organisations in the sector tend not to recruit through graduate schemes but hire as and when they need new staff. Specialist press, recruitment sites and agencies will all help you find work, including:

What are the construction industry challenges?

The CIOB's Real Face of Construction report (2023) revealed that the UK construction industry employs around 2.1 million people - the fourth largest share of employment outside the public sector.

According to the Construction Skills Network's CSN Industry Outlook - 2023-2027 report market revenue for the UK construction industry is set to reach £477billion in 2027.

Business software company The Access Group also reported through its UK Construction Industry Outlook 2024 that the UK construction industry is set to grow by 8% and 7% in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

However, despite posting these strong growth figures and cause for optimism, it's clear there are still challenges ahead - with threats posed by rising inflation, the higher cost of energy and materials, and disruptions to the supply chain.

One of the biggest concerns relates to meeting construction demand over the next few years due to the lack of skilled labour.

The CSN report, which assesses the UK construction industry over a five-year period, highlighted major concerns that an additional 225,000 construction workers are needed by 2027 to meet the expected growth. This works out at 45,000 new workers per year.

The main sectors for demand include:

  • infrastructure
  • private housing
  • repair and maintenance.

New workers will be required in the following professions:

The industry also has to go some way to change the way it's perceived - as male-dominated and lacking in diversity - if it's hoping to attract a new generation into the property and construction sector.

What about issues surrounding diversity and sustainability?

Despite improvements in recent times, women still only make up 15% of the workforce (dropping to 2% for those working on site), with organisations such as Women into Construction working to promote gender equality in construction through employment programmes and support.

Sustainable construction is also a pressing concern across the globe. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the construction industry accounts for nearly a third (30%) of worldwide energy consumption and a quarter (26%) of emissions.

As a major contributor to the UK's carbon emissions and waste, the construction industry is under mounting pressure to choose renewable and recyclable materials, increase project efficiency and adopt greener supply chains to reduce its environmental impact, in line with the government's Construction 2025 strategy.

Find out more

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