As the rural sector itself continues to evolve and innovate; so too does our role as Rural Surveyor in our capacity as consultant and advisor.
There is increasing pressure on land to accommodate the population, our increasing energy, infrastructure, technology and tourism requirements. Alongside the traditional day job of farming and food production, there is an incredible variety of work across our industry.
The Day Job
The day job is a difficult one to define, and articles written with an estate management, diversification or utility sector focus will provide a completely different slant.
Working for a national firm within our Rural, Compulsory Purchase and Valuation Teams, there is a reasonable amount of traveling to visit clients and Property.
Valuation work can vary, from a requirement to value an Oxfordshire farm for inheritance tax purposes, to working as part of a national team to undertake portfolio valuations for large landowning clients. Recently I’ve found myself working as part of a team valuing a poultry farm in North Wales, an estate in Northern England and driving along country lanes to a field somewhere in Kent.
Representing landowners affected by HS2, there is a considerable amount of time on site. Having strong communication, negotiation and team work skills are essential to work for your client and for dealing with HS2 (or any acquiring authority), Valuers, Engineers and Ecologists Early an ongoing engagement helps the client to plan and reduce the effects of the scheme. In addition to meetings in farmhouses along the route, and the office, we have also petitioned parliament and represented clients in both the House of Commons and House of Lords.
There are opportunities across the whole rural sector. Compulsory Purchase and Infrastructure consultancy is a specialism requiring growth to advise and support the schemes planned in the next 10-20 years, such as: Crossrail, HS2, East West Rail, The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and the Heathrow Expansion. These schemes offer an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to learn and gain experience in a rapidly growing sector with long term career prospects.
Graduates training to undertake the APC are likely to earn a salary of around £18,000-£25,000. Upon qualifying and becoming a Member of the RICS (MRICS) it’s likely to increase beyond this up to around £30,000. With 2- 3 years experience salary ranges broaden to around £30,000- £40,000. Thereafter your career path will depend upon job role, specialism, management responsibilities. As with previous articles, firms in London and the south-east of the UK tend to pay higher salaries, but the higher costs of living in this part of the UK can offset these gains.
The requirements of travel, clients and property make a standard 9 to 5 day difficult to always achieve. With a major deadline for example to submit a portfolio valuation to the bank, or the Court, to prepare petitions to parliament, to serve time limited legal notices or just being stuck in traffic 100 miles from home longer days do happen in busy periods. Outside of these times though a standard week is much easier to adopt. Networking events are often in evenings or breakfast meetings, and it is up to you how many of these you feel happy to attend. As you progress there is a lot of freedom to manage your own diary and be flexible.
Tricks of the Trade
Always keep wellies and waterproof in the boot of your car, when you don’t, that will be the day you get called out unexpectedly to site.
And never have that extra beer the night before a full day of poultry farm inspections…