What is the state of the Quantity Surveyor job market in 2021, who is this market likely to benefit and what can a smart consultancy do NOW to engineer a successful 2021 on the talent front. 

Since March 2020, Australia’s borders have been closed to international candidates. For one thing, we know that around 40% hiring managers that Franklin Smith counts as clients were born overseas. As such, the Quantity Surveying industry in Australia relies significantly on skilled international candidates from the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India and Asia. If we are to believe Josh Frydenburg and Australian borders do remain closed for most of 2021, that would mean Australia will have been deprived of top international talent for almost two years.

Quantity Surveying 2021 predictions:


1.Quantity Surveyor salaries are likely to increase due to demand outweighing supply. 

2. High levels of competition will increase the “poaching” of Quantity Surveyors. 

3. Revenues could suffer due to a lack candidate delivering high enough quality. 

4. It’s going to get EXTREMELY competitive. Be ready! Such competitive market places DO lend advantage to Tier 1 firms. 

The effects of capital expenditure from the 3rd & 4th quarter of 2020 is likely to stimulate explosive demand for Quantity Surveyors, Cost Planners and Estimators throughout 2021 especially those at Intermediate to senior level.

Fever pitch for recruiting and onboarding these candidates is likely to be March, coinciding with the Covid-19 vaccination drive beginning in Australia.

A market place like this is likely to benefit Tier 1 contractors, so competitors must beware of the threat posed by Tier 1 firms poaching top tier talent from PQS firms. These contractors typically have deep pockets and are more likely to reach into them faced with a shortage of talent.

As an example, an “Associate” in a Sydney Tier 1 consultancy on average commands $150-$180K per annum. A Tier 1 Contractor can quite easily afford to offer between $180-$220K, a 25% increase, which, after the year we have all just lived through, is a very attractive figure to walk away from.

How can you be ready for 2021?


Franklin Smith has predicts a rise in competition for Quantity Surveying jobs, so how can companies take action to mitigate the risks posed by the change in market dynamics? One would hope that now is the time that companies who have invested in their staff during the pandemic will receive some loyalty in return. In addition, here are two things that you can do NOW to get ready for upcoming demand.

1. Open the lines of communication now:

Have a one-to-one with each team member and ascertain individual goals and motivations for 2021 and ensure they get the support they require in order to hit these targets. Discuss money. Do they warrant a pay rise? Employers should always remember the cost of hiring someone new is 7x greater than keeping someone in the business.

2. Set recruitment goals early:

Write down your two top hires for 2021. Begin the recruiting process NOW and meet two candidates per week until you find the right person. Franklin Smith estimates that it will take anywhere from 2 – 6 months to find, attract & onboard the right people into the business. However, due to market conditions in 2021 this could be longer when the shortages really kick in.

3. Know what you CAN offer:

At Franklin Smith we have noticed a change in the priorities of candidates, inspired by the 2020 we all just lived through. Many candidates are now valuing job security, clear lines of communication, career development plans – it is important that companies take note of what candidates value most, especially when a company can’t compete purely on salary. With 2020 being an eye-opener for us all, many candidates will also ask “How did you manage your people during Covid?” – be ready with an answer, and if the answer isn’t overly flattering – what will you do differently IF there was a next time.

It’s going to be a dog fight to find good talent in 2021 but after the lockdowns, redundancies, health impact (both physical and mental) Franklin Smith is happy to be your dog in the ring.

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