With quantity surveyors in high demand its not uncommon for individuals to move up quickly in the ranks. In fact, moving on a yearly basis will almost guarantee a senior quantity surveyor job title and a healthy benefits package to match. As good as it sounds, it’s really not the best route for progression to becoming a top quantity surveyor.

The problem is that 4 years’ experience is a minimum to learn what the role entails. While you may have the title and have put in the hours, but you won’t really have the experienced needed at a more senior level.

The primary reason for this is that unless you’ve successfully taken on a level of responsibility in terms of managing a team or being solely responsible for a project, you’ll lack an understanding of everything involved. It’s one thing to be part of a team where you’re doing the work, but entirely another when you have to answer for why things aren’t going according to plan.

Real work experience

The reality is the real work experience matters and people skills matter. This can only be learnt working in the industry. Knowing how to work with people and engage with them on different levels impacts the success of projects. This includes reporting to senior managers and interfacing with suppliers and sub-contractors.

If you want to acquire these skills one of the best ways is through a mentor. Ask the manager you report to if you can shadow them in meetings. Explaining that you want to learn soft skills required at a more senior level. This will enable you to see how effectively they communicate and negotiate to ensure successful outcomes.

Taking on responsibility

If you feel you’re ready for the next step up in your career, it’s good to first test the waters. Start off by asking to be solely responsible for a smaller project or a section of a project. If you’ve already got that level of responsibility then ask if you could manage a small team under the guidance of a more senior manager. This will help you understand the nuances of managing people and will likely highlight what soft skills you need to work on.

It’s good to be eager to progress in your career, but remember that progression needs to be about more than just a pay cheque. The more senior you are, the more responsibility will be allocated to you. And with that comes the expectation to deliver.