quantity surveyor average salary.

In the 12 months leading up to the 1st February 2020, there has been a 3% increase in average Quantity Surveyor pay, rising from £54,750 to £56,250. However, this has not been evenly spread across the profession.

At a less senior level, pay has risen a little.  Assistant Quantity Surveyors have seen their pay rise 2%, from £29,250 to £29,750. On average, Assistant Quantity Surveyors can now expect to an asking salary £32,000 in the capital and £27,250 outside London. Quantity Surveyors have seen average salaries rise 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 £72,500. Average M&E Quantity Surveyor salaries have risen 6%, from £77,250 to £81,750.  Highfliers can do even better. In September, we placed a Senior Quantity Surveyor on the south coast on almost £85,000.

quantity surveyor salary changes 2019-2020.

Average UK starting salaries per job role:

  • Assistant quantity surveyor: £29,250 in 2018/19 to £29,50 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%)

What’s driving this crazy three tier marketplace?  What has fractured the quantity surveying job market?  In a word, demand.

The volume of vacancies being advertised and filled is very unevenly distributed across the quantity surveyor job market.

how much do quantity surveyors earn across the country?

There are regional differences.  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 roaring along with 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, quantity surveyor salaries in London were approximately a fifth 20% higher than outside the capital (19% more in 2017, 21% in 2018). In the last twelve months, they’ve dropped to just 13% higher than the rest of the UK, suggesting we could see London salaries rebound significantly in the next year.

why are junior quantity surveyors in demand?

While overall there has been an 11% fall in the number of quantity surveyor vacancies being filled in the last 12 months, there has been a huge resurgence at junior levels.  Hiring is up 41% for Assistant Quantity Surveyors. 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 asking pay 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 the previous 12 months.  Senior Quantity Surveyor and Senior M&E Quantity Surveyor placements were 67% higher in the 12 months to 1st February 2019, than they were in the year to 1st February 2020.  Likewise, hiring at Commercial Director, MQS and Commercial Manager level is down 40%.

pay increases for senior quantity surveyors.

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.  To save cash, they are attempting to avoid external Director hiring. With the lack of demand for new staff, this is driving down the pay for the top-level talent actively who are looking to move jobs.

Meanwhile, the people who benefit from the apparent parsimony of construction firms are the middle tier.  They’re the ones seeing really good, strong job offers and juicy advertised salaries – and that’s why Senior Quantity Surveyors and Senior M&E Quantity Surveyors are seeing such significant increases in pay.

the future for quantity surveyors.

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 have been a surge in the appointment of more junior staff to ensure there are enough boots on the ground.

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? Now that all quantities reside within a BIM file?  Now that engineers and architects can extract all necessary quantities from a model themselves.

Clearly, 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.  

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.

Looking for something new? 

Search our latest temporary and permanent quantity surveyor vacancies.

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