Skills deficit in the quantity surveying industry in South Africa
Venter, Brenda Margaret
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The shortage of skilled quantity surveyors in South Africa can have a detrimental affect on the property sector, a sector that represents 70% of global wealth. It has been suggested that regardless of economic circumstances, quantity surveyors make a crucial contribution to the national and global economy (Wortmann, 2009). People of this profession have a profound influence on all levels of the property sector, on individuals and communities, small enterprises, global corporations and governments. Quantity surveyors therefore need to make an important contribution towards withstanding financial storms with their unique skills and expertise (Wortmann, 2009). The need for this study arose from the national and governmental demand for quantity surveyors and the concomitant need to identify factors contributing to the current alleged shortage. A survey was conducted by means of questionnaires that confirmed the alleged shortage of affordable, competent quantity surveyors. A mixed-methods approach was used to conduct an empirical exploration which included quantitative (questionnaire) and qualitative (comments and interviews) research. Qualitative responses to the questionnaire supported the quantitative results, which were analysed by means of a thematic content analysis. A mixed-melh6d approach constitutes both a method and methodology for conducting research that involves collecting, analysing, and integrating quantitative and qualitative research in a single study. The purpose of this form of research is that qualitative and quantitative research in combination provide a better understanding of a research problem or issue than either research approach alone; it allows for 'multiple angles' that provide different 'pictures'; and it is more naturalistic in the sense that 'its more intuitive' (by basically mirroring 'real life') (Creswell, 2008). The results confirmed the hypothesis that there is indeed a shortage of quantity surveyors in South Africa. Contributing elements were identified as: • Educational causes •such as mathematics training at school, lack of communication skills, business skills, level of standards of education, institutionsnot being accredited and a lack of educational personnel, exacerbated by a lack of academic and financial support. Also, many students do not pass the council exams. • Government legislation, BBEE interference, political interference, non-payment of professional fees by the government, and escalating crime rates are also problems in this regard. • Generation gaps causing communication and team and mentoring problems were identified, as well as competencies not receiving the attention these require before candidates register. • The marketing of the profession and study field to the private sector, the property sector, government and at school level should receive attention. • The quantity surveying profession not enjoying the protection it needs and quantity surveyors are not aware of the available protection measures. In the study it became clear that the quantity surveyor profession is under threat, as resources are limited and will become more limited as economic elements even out over the next few years. The educational problems should be addressed in cohesion with all the stakeholders of the build environment which includes Government. However, it is suggested that there is no single, short-term solution to the skills shortage. The previous government had a very successful resource based strategic plan until 1994, and it is recommended that this plan should be revisited and implemented to reduce the shortage of professional people as well as setting a higher standard for education.