quantity surveyor salary

In recent years, there has been an increase in the average Quantity Surveyor salary in the UK, rising from £54,750 to £56,250. However, this has not been evenly spread across the profession, with different levels of seniority experiencing inconsistent pay rises.

Assistant Quantity Surveyors have seen their pay rise an average of 2%, from £29,250 to £29,750, meaning that they can now expect a salary of £32,000 in the capital and £27,250 outside of London. The Chartered Quantity Surveyor salary in the UK has risen from £52,500 to £53,000, an increase of just 1% – but an increase nonetheless.

Pay for Senior Quantity Surveyors is up 9%, from £66,000 to £90,500, while average M&E Quantity Surveyor salaries have risen 6%, from £77,250 to £81,750. However, there are often differences in pay, even in the same level of roles. As an example, we recently placed a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the south coast on almost £85,000.

quantity surveyor average salary changes

Average UK starting salaries per job role:

  • Assistant Quantity Surveyor: £29,250 in 2018/19 to £29,50[GA3]  in 2019/20 (+2%)
  • Quantity Surveyor: £52,500 in 2018/19 to £52,000 in 2019/20 (+1%)
  • Senior Quantity Surveyor: £66,000 in 2018/19 to £72,250 in 2019/20 (+9%)
  • Senior M&E Quantity Surveyor: £77,250 in 2018/19 to £81,750 in 2019/20 (+6%)
  • Managing Quantity Surveyor/Commercial Manager: £89,500 in 2018/19 to £89,750 in 2019/20 (no/minimal change)
  • Commercial Director: £103,500 in 2018/19 to £81,250 in 2019/20 (-21%)
  • QS sector average: £54,750 in 2018/19 to £56,250 in 2019/20 (+3%)

This wild three-tier marketplace and fractured job market can be put down to demand. The volume of vacancies being advertised and filled is very unevenly distributed across the quantity surveyor job market, leading to inconsistent quantity surveyor salaries up and down the country.

how much does a Quantity Surveyor make across the country?

There can be vast regional differences in how much a Quantity Surveyor earns and the demand for roles. As an example:

  • The quantity surveyor job markets in Birmingham and Brighton are busier.
  • We have filled 8% more vacancies in London over the last 12 months than we did in the year previously.
  • Southampton is experiencing a 15% increase in the number of vacancies filled this year.
  • Bristol, Leeds, and Welwyn Garden City, meanwhile, are marginally quieter – and Glasgow is pretty much flat.
  • Newcastle and Maidstone are yet to see a recovery in hiring.

The trend in London is particularly interesting. Until relatively recently, the quantity surveyor salary in London was approximately 20% higher than outside the capital (19% more in 2017, 21% in 2018).

Currently, they’ve dropped to just 13% higher than the rest of the UK, suggesting that we could see London salaries rebound significantly in coming months.

why are junior quantity surveyors in demand?

While overall there has been an 11% fall in the number of quantity surveyor vacancies being filled recently, there has been a huge resurgence at junior levels, with hiring up 41% for Assistant Quantity Surveyors and those starting out in the profession.

The level of Quantity Surveyors and Assistant Quantity Surveyors vacancies being filled is now 4% higher than in 2016, when the industry started panicking around Brexit. The quantity surveyor average salary at these levels would be greater had this segment of the market not been decimated in 2018, when volumes fell by more than a quarter (26%) in 2017.

In the medium and top tiers of the profession, there’s less activity in the jobs market with 40% fewer vacancies filled this year, compared to previously. Senior Quantity Surveyor and Senior M&E Quantity Surveyor placements are down over 50% and hiring at Commercial Director, MQS and Commercial Manager level is down 40%.

increase in the average senior quantity surveyor salary

The recovery in the quantity surveyor job market is so uneven because clients are trying to fill gaps in headcount (caused by natural churn and retirement) by promoting Senior Quantity Surveyors to Director roles internally. Avoiding external hiring saves time and cash but, with the lack of demand for new staff, this is driving down the average quantity surveyor salary for the most top-level talent actively who are looking to move jobs.

Meanwhile, the middle tier includes the people seeing really good, strong job offers and juicy advertised salaries – meaning that Senior Quantity Surveyors and Senior M&E Quantity Surveyors are seeing significant increases in pay.

the future for quantity surveyors and quantity surveyor salaries in the UK

While it's too early to get excited, there are a couple of green shoots of recovery evident in the industry. Firms are now too busy not to add headcount; there’s too much going on not to hire at all. With staff in the middle tier being promoted to the very top of the profession, there has been a surge in the appointment of more junior staff to ensure that there are enough boots on the ground to fill the gaps.

It also goes some way to laying to rest the slightly dark picture that is sometimes painted about the future of quantity surveying. Are we all redundant now that a BOQ (bill of quantities) can be produced with a single click, all quantities now reside within a BIM file and engineers and architects can extract all necessary quantities from a model themselves?

The resurgence in salaries in the middle segment of the profession suggest that the future is far less bleak than we have been led to believe – that value of surveying experience and industry knowledge cannot be replaced by new technology. This, in turn, is likely to continue pushing up the quantity surveyor average salary, across all levels.

New software is not making the Assistant Quantity Surveyor role surplus to requirements, either – in much the same way that the advent of Excel and Lotus Notes did not make accountants redundant. New technology is simply removing some of the less imaginative (and, let’s face it, boring) parts of the job, changing some old-school workflows for the better and introducing efficiencies, rather than removing the need for junior employees all together.

Search our latest temporary and permanent quantity surveyor vacancies or check out our personalised salary calculator to discover the demand and average pay for your role.

Interested in hearing about what life is like as a QS? Hear from Calum at Morgan Sindall.