Progressing from a quantity surveyor or senior quantity surveyor to a managerial role involves a combination of acquiring relevant skills, gaining experience, and demonstrating leadership potential.

With roles such as commercial manager being identified as one of the highest paying construction jobs in the UK, it’s an incredibly desirable field for surveyors to explore. 

In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to help you progress from a Quantity Surveyor to a managerial role such as a commercial manager.

This guide will unravel insights on how quantity surveyors can transition into managerial roles, highlighting the benefits, required skills and experience, and tips on building trust and demonstrating leadership qualities. We'll also provide strategies on optimising your career plan and embracing more responsibility in your current role.

Benefits of transitioning to a managerial role:

  • Increased earning potential: managerial roles typically have a higher pay grade than quantity surveyor roles.
  • Greater responsibility and autonomy: these roles offer more control over your work, enabling a more significant impact on project success.
  • Opportunity to mentor and develop others: mentoring can be a rewarding experience, helping build your reputation as a leader.
  • Promotion opportunities: progressing to roles like director or managing director can further increase your responsibility and industry impact.

To find out more about the role of a commercial manager, see ‘what does a commercial manager do?

Building trust: becoming a construction industry leader.

In order to progress to the next step and take on an upper-management level position, it’s likely that you’ll need to sharpen your leadership skills before taking on extra responsibility. 

While the academic side of the new role may be familiar and ‘on paper’ you are ready for the next step, there’s still the important part of knowing how to effectively manage others.

Since you will be managing a team and being responsible for not only their output, but their personal development, building trust and collaboration among your reports is imperative. 

Skills and experience required for a managerial role:

  • Strong understanding of the construction industry: essential for making sound decisions and managing projects effectively.
  • Good communication and negotiation skills: necessary for interacting with clients, contractors, and other stakeholders.
  • Ability to manage and lead a team: delegating tasks, motivating team members, and resolving conflict are crucial.
  • Leadership qualities: being honest, transparent, committed to continuous improvement, and able to think strategically.

As you make the transition into managerial position, it’s vital to show respect, integrity, and transparency in your actions and decisions, as well as to recognising and rewarding the contributions of others, highlighting best practices and sharing collaborative wins. You need to foster a culture of teamwork, cooperation, and mutual support, where everyone feels valued and empowered. 

In order to gain valuable insight into how to become an effective leader and authoritative figure in the workplace, one of the best ways to obtain first-hand knowledge is from a suitable mentor. Try to identify someone in your field who is an established leader and would be willing to provide you impartial advice. This is a great way to develop your leadership skills from someone you know has successfully made the transition into a senior position. 

Secondly, take the initiative and be proactive – take on more responsibility. The more you can demonstrate your ambition and problem solving skills, the more people will recognise that you’re ready to take a step up. 

The ability to influence outcomes is also incredibly valuable. Your ability to influence others comes from a combination of active listening and constructive feedback. Remember that you need to find a balance between being assertive with your ideas and directions and remaining calm when they are challenged. 

Obtaining the relevant academic qualifications.

While not being strictly necessary, it can be advantageous for those looking to progress into more senior construction roles, such as commercial managers, to have a university accreditation. BSc (Hons) degrees are available in Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying or a similar subject such as building studies, building technology, building engineering and construction engineering management. Other broader areas that are relevant to being promoted to a commercial manager include management studies, administration and accounting. 

To further strengthen your portfolio of accreditations, you can look to become chartered through a relevant professional body, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM).

Most commercial managers also have a range of professional and specialist qualifications in areas such as health and safety, business accounting and diversity and inclusion.

How to optimise your career plan for a managerial role:

  • Develop a clear career plan: stay focused and motivated on your goals.
  • Embrace more responsibility: this will hone your skills and showcase your leadership potential.
  • Pursue additional education and training: courses and programmes can help develop the necessary skills and knowledge.
  • Network with managerial role incumbents: learn from their experiences and build relationships for future opportunities.
  • Find a mentor: mentors can provide guidance and support during your transition.

While the above steps will help you plan your journey, it’s worth noting that career advancement isn’t always fast and may take a long time. While you work towards the next step of your career it’s important to continue to work diligently and remain committed to your long-term goals.

At Randstad we've been helping construction workers land temporary and permanent jobs across the UK's most desirable projects since 1960. If you’re ready to take the next step in your construction career, share your CV with us and our team will be in touch to match you with your perfect role: