I Want to Work In .... Construction, Property and Housing


Housing associations, advisory services and vacancy sources

A housing manager/housing officer manages housing and related services on behalf of housing associations, local authorities and other accommodation providers. The role involves managing a designated patch of housing and keeping in regular contact with tenants, looking after rental income, and dealing with repairs and other problems. Tenants may be from specific client groups, such as homeless people or people with disabilities.

Satisfactions include helping people to resolve their housing problems, helping them get (and keep) a roof over their head, working with people with shared values & commitment and getting involved in a community together with residents & other workers. There are constant new challenges. It keeps your feet very firmly on the ground among the realities of people's lives.
include lack of resources, bureaucracy & form-filling: an essential part of being an accountable organisation.
Skills required
include spoken communication, listening, organising, negotiating, investigating, an interest in people, flexibility, patience, good humour, tolerance and common sense.
Related jobs include social work and community work
Getting in. Get lnowledge of current housing legislation & issues affecting housing. Spend a couple of days shadowing a housing manager if you can. Make speculative applications to prospective employers early in spring.

For further information, see

Professional bodies and housing advisory services

Graduate schemes in housing associations
General articles:


Estate agency

Estate agents sell or let residential or commercial properties, businesses or land for their clients. The role generally involves valuing properties, which includes looking at the property's conditions and comparing it with others in the area to get the best price for the client. They also market the property and negotiate deals on behalf of their clients.

Residential estate agents deal with the sale and purchase of houses, flats and land. Many also manage rental properties, which has been a growth area. Commercial estate agents deal with a wide range of business properties including offices, shops, leisure facilities, hotels and restaurants. Rural estate agents specialise in land and rural businesses.

Estate agency work can be highly international, particularly in London where 35% of all properties in some areas are purchased by non-UK nationals.

Satisfactions include deal-making, meeting a wide variety of people, being able to get out of the office regularly and independence.
Negatives include market fluctuations & dealing with unreasonable clients who can occasionally make the work highly stressful.
Skills required include spoken communication, negotiating, persuading, listening, the ability to take risks and driving.
Related jobs include building surveyor, property manager and loss adjuster.

For further information see

Estate Agency Links

Town Planning

PROFILE: Town Planner

INVOLVES: Making decisions on land use applications taking into consideration the environment, housing, industry & agriculture. Conducting research, making site visits, producing reports & suggesting recommendations.
EMPLOYERS: Local government mostly. Also independent consultancies, construction companies, central government, environmental organisations & self-employment.
RELATED JOBS: planning technician, architect, environmental consultant, housing manager, surveyor.
SATISFACTIONS: Involvement in the development of exciting, community building projects. Working within a team. Making important decisions.
NEGATIVES: Meeting tight deadlines. Dealing with irate members of the public. Enforcing planning regulations.
SKILLS: analysing, able to work under pressure, communication, diplomacy.
ADVANCEMENT: town planning assistant to town planner to chief town planner. or, from town planner into inspection, consultancy or industry.
DEGREE: Any degree, but planning strongly recommended. Others of use include: surveying, architecture & geography.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: Essential if first degree not relevant.
VACANCY SOURCES: Planning, Local Government Opportunities, The Guardian (Wednesday), Local press, The Surveyor. Directory of Planning Consultants, Municipal Yearbook.
TIPS: Use the available job vacancy sources for the public sector; while a more creative & speculative approach may be appropriate for the private sector. Apply directly to institutions for postgraduate courses. For further information see the Royal Town Planning Institute site www.rtpi.org.uk


Construction is a massive sector, embracing civil and structural engineering, construction, building services and surveying, and blurring into engineering construction, where scientific, mechanical engineering and construction disciplines all meet. It incorporates everything from house building to constructing dams and bridges; to road, rail and air transport infrastructures; and industrial plant, power stations and gas platforms. For further information, have a look at this overview of the Construction Sector

PROFILE: Quantity Surveyor

INVOLVES: Financial control of construction work. First line of legal advice. Cost planning & control. Tendering. Project control. Preparing budgets. Certifying payments.
EMPLOYERS: Construction companies; quantity surveyor practices; any large company with a large building programme.
RELATED JOBS: Estate agent, purchasing manager.
SATISFACTIONS: A successful project completed with a good profit made. Salaries can be very good with even assistant surveyors earning £30,000 and more.
NEGATIVES: Tends to be adversarial
SKILLS: planning & organising, cooperating, investigating, numeracy.
ADVANCEMENT: Graduates could expect to join any of the various disciplines employed & to progress & be promoted as their ability & ambition suggested was appropriate, up to partner level in private practice.
DEGREE: Any degree subject possible but usually a building/construction related degree is strongly preferred.
VACANCY SOURCES: Chartered quantity surveyor, Building.
TIPS: Approach the professional institution involved in the industry - the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors www.rics.org


Useful links and information sources:stonehenge

Recruitment Agencies


Many of the professional bodies listed below have careers sections on their websites.


Other information


See also “I Want to Work in the Public Sector” www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitesgov.htm and our Building and Constuction page www.kent.ac.uk/careers/construction.htm

The Prospects website has Occupational Profiles for the following careers


Last fully updated 2012