Civil engineering, construction and property
Civil engineering, construction and property are very broad employment sectors and are likely to become even larger and diverse in the future. Opportunities can range from management to technical roles and incorporates everything from facilities management to building houses, dams and bridges.
A surge in house building and infrastructure spending has seen employment levels rise in the areas of civil engineering, construction and property, with professionals (such as structural engineers, quantity surveyers, facilities managers and estate agents) often being in high demand. However, while these employment sectors are currently thriving, competition can be fierce with employers often looking to recruit people with appropriate skills, knowledge and experience.
Where do I start?
Within the civil engineering, construction and property sectors you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles, each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements and career prospects as well as links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
Job roles in this sector include (but are not restricted to):
- Building control surveyor
- Building services engineer
- Building surveyor
- CAD technician
- Commercial/residential surveyor
- Construction Manager
- Consulting civil engineer
- Contracting civil engineer
- Estate agent
- Facilities manager
- Planning and development surveyor
- Quantity surveyor
- Rural practice surveyor
- Site engineer
- Structural engineer
- Town planner
- Water engineer
- Urban designer
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in these sectors and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- Planning Resource – Jobs, news, events for planning, housing and regeneration.
- TARGETjobs – All you need to know about careers for graduate engineers. Find out what industry sectors you can work in, how much you could earn and how to apply for jobs.
- TARGETjobs – Employers, recruitment processes and postgraduate study.
- TARGETjobs – Also offers an online guide, providing comprehensive information on property, employers, recruitment processes and further study.
- The Chartered Institute of Building – the world's largest professional body for construction management and leadership.
- New Civil Engineer – Online version of the New Civil Engineer magazine; providing news, analysis, interviews, and features for the UK civil engineering sector.
- The Engineering Council – UK regulatory body for the engineering profession.
- The Engineer – The Engineer is the essential magazine for engineers.
- Chartered Institute of Building – Professional body for construction management and leadership.
- Semta – Sector Skills Council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies in the UK.
- Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers – Promotes the career of building services engineers and provides information on training, events, news and journals.
- Chartered Institute of Housing – Professional body for people involved in housing and communities. Their website provides housing news, advice, events and jobs.
Competition for jobs in these sectors can be fierce and work experience could be the deciding factor in securing a graduate job. Undertaking work experience is invaluable to develop expertise and the all-important transferable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work.
However, finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through our website.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.
As part of your degree programme you will have the opportunity to take part in a salaried placement year, either in the UK or overseas to gain proven industrial experience by the time you graduate. This will provide you with an invaluable insight into working life and offer a unique opportunity to apply the industry knowledge you are learning as part of your studies.
Placements will also enable you to gain transferable skills in the workplace, such as communication, teamwork and time management, in addition to finding out more about a specific job role or industry, which will lead to more informed decisions upon graduating.
Within the Faculty of Technology, our students are placed with a wide range of companies across a variety of sectors. Many organisations recruit students every year, and some arrange a period of overlap to ensure continuity of the work or projects that are carried out by placement students.
Your first point of contact to arrange your placement will be the placement office within your Faculty. Find out how to contact your placement office here.
An internship is usually a work experience opportunity that is offered for a fixed period or a limited amount of time. Internships tend to be undertaken by students and graduates who are looking to gain more relevant/industry specific skills and experience in their particular field.
These opportunities can be paid for a period of between one to four months and typically take place over the summer, with closing dates generally around January to March, but some can be earlier.
Finding placement and internship opportunities
The websites below provide further information about placement and internship opportunities across engineering, construction and property:
- RateMyPlacement – offers information on placements, internships, insights and work experience with a range of companies and organisations across the engineering sector.
- Gradcracker – as the UK’s careers website for Technology students, Gradcracker provides a search function for placements and internships relevant to your degree discipline.
- TARGETjobs – provides a specific section on different career sectors, with the ability to search for placement and internship opportunities in construction and building services,engineering and property.
- Prospects – has its own search tool for work experience opportunities across sectors, including engineering and property and construction.
- Milkround – provides a search tool for internships and industrial placements across sectors, including construction and engineering.
- All About Careers – outlines different types of work experience and companies within engineering, referring to external websites and hosting its own jobs board.
- TheBigChoice – links to a variety of internships and placements in the UK, including across engineering sectors.
- Glassdoor is a growing job database offering company reviews, job opportunities and CEO approval ratings.
Companies offering potential engineering experience
The websites below are those of some companies known to offer experience to students and graduates in your sector area, such as industrial placements and internships.
By accessing these sites and carrying out some initial research about the companies, you may find additional information about some of the opportunities available to you.
- Balfour Beatty
- BAM Construct UK
- Carter Jonas
- CH2M HILL
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Lang O’Rourke
- Mott MacDonald
- Kier Group
- Knight Frank
- Royal HaskoningDHV
- Savills UK
- VINCI Construction UK
- Willmott Dixon
Getting involved in volunteering gives you the opportunity to develop employability skills and experience a variety of working environments. It provides the chance to network, meet new friends and boost your confidence.
Volunteering also enables you to gain practical experience and working examples to support your graduate applications. If you choose to commit a significant amount of time and impress the organisation during your volunteering, they may also provide you with a professional reference.
Key skill areas you will need to consider developing will be project management, technical and practical skills, the ability to collaborate effectively with others and communication skills.
Examples of roles that the Volunteering Team have previously advertised and recruited to that will enhance these competencies include:
- STEM Ambassador with STEM Learning – an opportunity to share your knowledge and passion for your degree subject with young people and to act as an inspiring role model through engagement in a range of learning and educational based activities. An opportunity to enhance interpersonal skills, presentation skills and to network with a wide range of professionals who work within STEM industries.
- Canal Camp Volunteer with the Waterway Recovery Group – a residential opportunity offering the chance to use specialist and construction machinery and work as part of a team to support restoration.
- Conservation Volunteer with Groundwork South – working alongside other community volunteers to undertake environmental and access improvements in the nature along a local stream. The role involves practical and outdoor work.
- Events Co-ordinator with the RNLI – supporting the delivery of events in the local community, implementing new and innovative fundraising opportunities and engaging in networking opportunities.
- Museum Guide Volunteer with Burlesdon Brickworks Museum – assisting the team to greet visitors and to provide information about the brickworks, conservation and events to members of the public.
- Home Safety Advisor with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service – acting as a representative to engage with members of the community, visiting households in pairs to conduct a Home Fire Safety Visit; identifying fire hazards and inspecting/fitting smoke alarms if required. An opportunity to enhance communication and interpersonal skills by engaging with a range of organisations.
You can access such opportunities via the physical Volunteering Bank in the Careers and Employability Centre or visit MyCareer to search and apply online for current roles.
If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team on email email@example.com.
Finding placement and internship opportunities
Initially, it is important to identify whether or not there is specific experience you wish to gain within a particular sector or could your search be broader where you are looking to gain transferable skills? Some key considerations for your search may include:
- Are you looking for experience that relates to a specific unit you are taking as part of your university course?
- What are your career goals and aspirations? How might the opportunity help you work towards these?
- Are there any gaps in your skillset that need to be addressed? How might an opportunity enable you to fill this gap?
- What is the time commitment and location of the role? Does this fit in with your plans and other commitments?
- What type of organisation would you like to gain experience with? A bigger national or multinational company? A small to medium-sized enterprise, charity of not-for-profit organisation?
Make sure you carry out thorough research
Research the different potential employers who may be looking for graduates within the civil engineering, construction and property sectors before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills. Are you interested in working within consultancy, contracting, design or site management? Do you have a specific goal to work within building control or structural engineering? Do housing or property development roles appeal to you?
As a starting point take a look at the job profiles included on the Prospects website to consider the type of work experience recommended and the skills you will need to develop to enhance graduate applications to specific roles.
Use your initiative and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively – send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
There are many opportunities for engineering students to network – this is about interacting with others to share information and contacts. It’s a great way as a student and as a graduate to meet a variety of people in the engineering industry – from recruiters and executives to graduates and other students in your area.
It is also helpful to seek advice on how to secure work experience or a graduate role; how to approach the application and interview process; exploring job opportunities; and gaining an insight into the industry, including individual companies. It is also an opportunity to build your confidence and communication skills in a professional setting.
Opportunities to network may include careers fairs, employer talks or presentations, guest lectures and workshops or skills sessions delivered by recruiters. Find out more from TARGETjobs.
Create a positive online presence
Finding a job
There are many different areas within civil engineering, construction and property and work can be varied. Some of the areas you could get involved in include: town planning; building services; real estate; construction and quantity and surveying; urban and rural planning and regeneration, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.
Employers who recruit in these areas
- The offices of private practice quantity surveyors (PQS).
- Building and civil engineering contractors.
- Local authorities and government agencies (city, district, borough and county councils) in England, Scotland and Wales, in various departments such as regeneration, policy and development control, or the Northern Ireland planning service.
- The Planning Inspectorate – Dealing with planning permission rejections and local development plans in England and Wales.
- The Highways Agency (HA).
- Homes England – involved in development, improving neighbourhoods and growing communities
- Estate agency practices.
- Large property-owning organisations, such as housing associations, retailers, leisure groups etc.
Useful websites to help you start your job search
- Just Engineers – A job site for the engineering sector.
- Engineering Jobs – A site advertising jobs for engineers across specialisms.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – The official recruitment website of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; providing information on national and international surveying vacancies within construction, land, and property.
- Chartered Institute of Building – The official recruitment site of the Chartered Institute Of Building.
- ICE Recruit – A civil engineering jobs board.
- Entech – An engineering and technical recruitment specialist across a number of sectors.
- Building4Jobs – A site focused on advertising vacancies related to the UK construction industry.
- Jobtensor – A specialist recruiter across engineering, IT and science.
- Planning jobs – This site offers an insight into jobs linked to town planning, development and regeneration.
- Careersinconstruction – A site providing information on jobs in the built environment.
- Jobs Inside Housing – A wide range of jobs related to housing.
- Go 4 Construction Jobs – The global recruitment website for the building, civil engineering, infrastructure, energy and oil and gas industries.
- EG Property Jobs – An online job vacancy source for commercial and residential property roles.
- WISE – Job vacancies focused on STEM occupations.
- Matchtech – An engineering recruitment agency across job areas.
Working in civil engineering and surveying
- Institution of Civil Engineers – ICE is a leading civil engineering institution and is committed to supporting and promoting professional learning, managing professional ethics, safeguarding the status of engineers, and representing the interests of the profession.
- Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors – An international qualifying body dedicated to the regulation, education and training of surveyors working within civil engineering.
- Engineering Council – A reculatory body for the UK engineering profession.
- Association of Cost Engineers – ACostE represents the professional interests of those with responsibility, at all levels, for the prediction, planning and control of resources and cost for activities that involve engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – RICS is a professinal body that accredits professionals within the property, land and construction sectors worldwide.
- Gradcracker – A careers website for Science Technology Engineering and Maths university students.
Working in construction
- The Chartered Institute of Building – the world's largest professional body for construction management and leadership.
- Construction Industry Council – CIC is the representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry.
- Institute of Historic Building Conservation – A registered charity which exists to promote advice and understanding on the care and conservation, enjoyment and appreciation of historic buildings and places.
- Constructionline – A leading procurement and supply chain management service that collects, assesses and monitors standard company information to reduce duplication within the construction industry.
- TARGETjobs – Careers website which provides job vacancy information, an overview of employment sectors and careers advice.
- Construction Alliance – An A-Z of links to useful construction industry-related websites.
- The Guardian – A specialist section on the construction industry from The Guardian.
- Office for National Statistics – An overview of the construction industry from the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics.
Working in property
- Institute of Residential Property Management – The IRPM is a professional association and advertises job vacancies for companies who are looking to recruit for a specific position.
- Centre for Partnership – Offers accreditation in governance and partnership standards, both of which have been recognised by the National Housing Federation.
- The Negotiator – A magazine for the residential property industry.
- i-FM – An online source for information about facilities management.
- Premises and Facilities Management – PFM is a leading premises and facilities journal.
- Macdonald & Company – Professional recruitment consultancy for the real estate and built environment sectors.
- Beach Baker – Recruiters to the real estate, programme and project management industries.
- UrbanDesignJobs – A recruitment site for the built environment.
- Osborne Richardson – A recruitment and consultancy service which specialises in environmental health, town planning and property.
- Hays – Global recruitment agency offering vacancies in civil engineering, property and construction.
- FRAME Recruitment – FRAME Recruitment specialise in engineering, building services, construction, facilities management and property recruitment.
- Cobalt Recruitment – Cobalt Recruitment is a leading specialist recruitment provider to the Property, Construction & Engineering sectors, with an Engineering division specialising in the recruitment of skilled engineers and working closely with specialist and multi-disciplinary engineering firms.
How to get hired by TARGETjobs
TARGETjobs has recently renewed their advice and information on ‘how to get hired’; sharing top tips and insights into the individual recruitment processes of some of the biggest engineering employers.
Some examples have been included below, but you can access further information through the employer hubs on the TARGETjobs website and look out for the lightbulb icon under each employer name.
- How to get hired by AECOM
- How to get hired by Arup
- How to get hired by Babcock
- How to get hired by Jaguar Land Rover
- How to get hired by Kerry Group
- How to get hired by Mott MacDonald
- How to get hired by Shell
- How to get hired by Unilever
Tips for finding a job
- Keep up to date with civil engineering, construction and property news and trends by following professional bodies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. This information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
- Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within civil engineering, construction and/or property, check out specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
- Most companies have a Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities.
The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and covering letters
- Application forms
- Job search
We have an online jobs board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service.
You can also access our services by calling or emailing us:
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone us: +44 (0)2392 842684
Office hours: Monday – Thursday, 8.30am – 5.00pm; Friday, 8.30am – 4.00pm