Building surveying careers: encouraging future generations

Inspiring the next generation

26 October 2016

James Baker explains what RICS is doing to encourage future generations of building surveyors

As a chartered building surveyor and RICS Matrics UK Chairman 2015–16, I am pleased to see that the profile of surveying is a priority for RICS with the appointment of a Future Talent Director.

Alex Charlesworth makes some very good points in his careers article (see Building Surveying Journal July/August, p.24), but it is important to add to these. We definitely need to be loud and proud about what we do and encourage future generations into careers in building surveying.

The profile of our job first needs to be elevated to take its place alongside other careers of choice, such as solicitors and accountants

I agree that recruitment is key, but the profile of our job first needs to be elevated to take its place alongside other careers of choice, such as solicitors and accountants. Once this is done, recruitment will be improved as larger talent pools will be available.


Diversity is clearly an issue, with surveying lagging behind other professions. However, it is not all doom and gloom, and things are definitely changing. For instance, the RICS now has a diversity and inclusion mark, with large employers recognising the benefit of having a diverse workforce. In 2015–16, the RICS Matrics board had an almost 50/50 split between male and female members as well.

Diversity is obviously not just a matter of gender, and attitudes are changing for the better to ensure that building surveying is a more inclusive profession. Teams with which I have worked in my career have definitely become more and more diverse, and it is important that this issue remains at the forefront and that we continue to make forward strides.


In terms of profile, the board and its network of 40 local groups across the UK are working with the RICS Future Talent team to implement a newly established RICS careers strategy. Both the board and local members will inspire the next generation of building surveyors by running workshops for and giving presentations to a range of schools and technical colleges. We have already consulted with the target audience, and it is clear that students want to experience prospective careers through interaction and case studies.

I am looking forward to being a part of the team that helps raise the profile of the profession by attending careers fairs and engaging with students.

Building surveying needs to be portrayed as a diverse, forward-thinking profession with vast opportunities; the RICS is working hard to achieve this, and RICS Matrics intends to be integral to the process. We need the support of employers to promote the profession, to signpost placements, and to provide inspiring case studies.


I have visited local schools to talk about surveying as a profession – and more specifically building surveying – attending careers fairs as well as giving presentations with which students have engaged with interest. I particularly remember one large fair where virtual reality technology was used to demonstrate the vast range of opportunities that careers in surveying can offer.

RICS has invested in and now launched a 'World' on the careers website Plotr, which is used at schools and colleges by young people to find out about potential careers. This is a great use of technology to reach out to a wider audience and present surveying as a possible career.

I am extremely passionate about building surveying, and am looking forward to contributing to giving the profession a higher profile. When I became RICS Matrics UK Chairman in June 2015, I wanted to inspire the next generation through careers and education, and this is something I fully intend to continue pursuing. I encourage anyone with a passion for what they do to contact RICS and get involved as well.

James Baker is an associate at Artelia UK and former RICS UK Matrics Chairman

Further information

  • If you have any thoughts about RICS’ Future Talent strategy, please contact Sally Speed at
  • This feature is taken from the RICS Building surveying journal (Oct/Nov 2016)