Any upward revision of the Government’s housing targets over the coming weeks is likely to increase demand for qualified surveyors, an industry that is already facing a dramatic skills shortfall, research by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) has indicated.
In its latest Employment, Remuneration and Workplace Report, which examines the supply of and demand for surveyors, the society warns that if the economy grows at 4 per cent each year between 2023 and 2026, some 2,910 new surveyor jobs will be created across the profession.
However, based on the current volume of Irish graduates entering the workforce, SCSI has estimated that just 1,829 new candidates will be available, a shortfall of 59 per cent. Even if the economy grows by just 3 per cent each over the four-year period, the shortfall could still be “significant” at 18 per cent, the report has suggested.
Expected changes to the Government’s housing targets in the early part of this year could also put pressure on the sector, said Kevin James, president of SCSI.
The Irish Times reported last week that unpublished research by the Housing Commission, which was shared with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien in November, indicates that Ireland requires between 42,000 and 62,000 new homes every year – under Mr O’Brien’s Housing for All strategy, 33,000 is the average annual target in the period to 2030.
Political leaders have been signalling for some time that housing targets, which are currently being reassessed, may have to be increased.
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“It is very likely that the Housing for All targets will undergo significant upward revision in the coming weeks, and this is going to increase the demand for all types of surveyors,” Mr James said. “Given that this research was conducted at a time of market uncertainty it is likely that the estimates of future employment demand are conservative.”
Based on a survey of more than 850 property, land and construction surveyors in the final months of last year, the research has also indicated that the shortage of skilled workers in the sector may be driving up salaries.
The survey found that the median salary of a surveyor is €77,200, an increase of 10 per cent on the last survey which was carried out in 2019.
“Eight out of 10 respondents to this survey confirmed inflation is a barrier to employment growth and that is very concerning,” Mr James said.
Meanwhile, the median salary for women in the industry in the fourth quarter of last year was €70,000, 14 per cent less than the median male salary of €80,000.
However, report author Dr Róisín Murphy, senior lecturer in engineering at TU Dublin, said it does not necessarily mean women earn less than men. Rather, she said the relatively lower number of women SCSI members has “a distortive effect” on the figures.
“While considerable progress has been made in addressing gender imbalance across the built environment sector nationally, there remains work to be done to address the ongoing lack of diversity,” she said.
Separately, industry body Engineers Ireland warned on Wednesday that a dearth of experienced engineers could undermine the Government’s plans under the Project 2040 initiative. Damien Owens, director general of the professional body, said “a ready supply of talented engineers” is required for the Government’s commitments under the long-term capital investment strategy to be met.