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New survey reveals buoyant industry despite Brexit pessimism

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 20 Mar 2019

Macdonald & Co

Pre-order your free executive summary of the 20th annual RICS Macdonald & Company Rewards & Attitudes Survey. 


In its 20th year, the RICS and Macdonald & Company Rewards and Attitudes Survey has found that professionals in the built environment industry, including planners, are generally positive about the outlook for careers and recruitment in their sectors. 

This year’s survey gathered qualitative and quantitative data from 3,461 respondents. There was a broad range of ages and experience as well as sectors and regions represented, including a strong representation from planning professionals.

More than half (57%) of the survey’s overall respondents expect their companies’ revenues to increase in 2019 as they benefit from new business opportunities. And 34% believe their employer will increase permanent headcount this year.

Another positive highlight is that the gender pay gap between median salaries across the industry appears to be closing as it now stands at 18.6% (4.8% lower than 2018 figures).

However, Brexit is casting a shadow and tainting the optimism, with more respondents expecting negative effects on their personal situation, their employer, sector and region, because of Brexit.

What does it mean for the planning industry?

Key findings for planners include:

  • More than half (52%) of planners expect their company revenues to increase in 2019.
  • 61% of planners believe their company offers good job security but just 16% think their employer will increase headcount in 2019.
  • 58% of planners received a pay increase over the last 12 months.
  • 43% of planners believe Brexit will impact talent availability negatively
  • 43% of planners said they’re ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to move jobs in the next 12 months
  • 44% of planners think their employers have a ‘great workplace culture’
  • 76% of planners think an increase to their salary would make them more productive at work
  • Only half of planners feel valued in their role
  • Working during annual leave and no salary review are the top two reasons making planners feel dissatisfied at work
  • Salary, career progression and location are the top three most influential factors when planners are considering a new role

Pre-order your free copy of the full executive summary here to discover how the latest salary and industry trends affect you.

Commenting on the survey findings, Peter Moore, CEO, Macdonald & Company, said: “It doesn’t surprise me that there is negativity surrounding Brexit. It is an emotive subject, and the uncertainty caused by the whole process is unsettling all sectors of the economy. However, when asked to concentrate their minds, professionals in the real estate and built environment are more considered. There is huge investment in infrastructure across the UK – with projects such as HS2, Hinkley Point and Heathrow boosting business – and the underlying demand for new homes is proving difficult to supply.

“On the whole, it appears that those on the front line are confident of the future, even though Brexit may produce a couple of twists and turns that will need to be navigated with care.”

Explore planning career opportunities with Macdonald & Company

Sean Tompkins, CEO, RICS, added: “Making the sector an attractive place to work for a wider talent pool will become ever more important in future markets, and some sectors have made great progress in reducing the historical pay gaps between male and female colleagues this year. Increasingly, we’re seeing something closer to parity for those starting out in their careers. However, we still have a long way to go, and we’re disappointed in the differences across bonus payments.

“This year, 25% of all newly RICS qualified professionals and almost a third of new enrolments are women, and while this is positive and shows the increasing numbers of women that view the sector as an attractive career, we can all do more.  

“Looking at the areas cited in the survey as increasing work satisfaction for employees across the board, these also are the key areas that promote a diverse workforce – for example flexible working and positive work life balance.  Employers would benefit greatly by focusing on these, as with Brexit likely to impact the talent pool, opening up our industry to all is imperative. The future of our industry hinges upon its young leaders.”

Click here to order your free copy of the report

Looking for career or recruitment advice in the town planning sector? Contact Antony Storey, town planning recruitment specialist at Macdonald & Company.