4.0 Executive Summary
4.1. This report provides analysis and supporting commentary on the 2022 data collection exercise about the local authority verification workforce. The analysis focuses on the current and future levels (supply and demand) for staff and the extent to which this demand is met by supply into job roles.
4.2. The gap between supply and demand has remained consistent with a shortfall of 65 (12%) of the workforce. Between 2021 and 2022, the overall size of the workforce reduced by 2%. The gap is projected to remain broadly consistent through to 2025 until such times as the current approaches being implemented by verifiers for recruitment and succession planning take effect.
4.3. There has been a slight reduction in the level of demand for the Surveyor, Other Specialist and Administrator job roles. This is due to more staff leaving the profession than in previous years, and difficulties when trying to recruit experienced Surveyors in particular. The number of Surveyors in the workforce has continued to reduce each year by around 8% annually since 2020. The cumulative effect since 2020 is a 13% (215 to 186) reduction in the number of Surveyors in the profession.
4.4. To counteract this, there is more recruitment into the junior roles of Assistant Surveyor, Building Inspector and Technician to support succession planning. This approach enables Managers to redesign their team structure in a way that supports development and career progression while still meeting customer expectations. However, this does add demands on Managers/team leaders’ time as they need to provide mentoring for staff in these roles.
4.6. The demand for Surveyors is likely to reduce as supply into that role improves when staff progress following training and experience acquisition from exposure to different and more complex projects. The investment by local authorities to introduce new talent into the profession will also have a significant effect on future resourcing. The overall aim to continue adding Graduate Apprentices and Modern Apprentices into the workforce will help close the gap between demand and supply over the medium term.
4.7. It is expected that a greater focus on effective succession planning will help to address the shortfall rather than attempting to recruit experienced professionals to replace leavers on a like-for-like basis.
4.8. The demographic of the workforce is beginning to change to a younger profile with an increase in the number of staff in age ranges 16 to 24 and 25 to 29 and a reduction in age ranges 56 to 60 and over 61. This is an important change that supports the greater focus on succession planning. A younger demographic is necessary to ensure the profession remains resilient for the long term. This trend is also evidenced by an increase in the number of staff with a length of service up to 10 years. It will be key to ensure the profession retains staff in their early career through ongoing mentoring, training and opportunities to gain experience that enable individuals to progress their career.
4.9. As returns are made on 31 July, the numbers recorded do not truly reflect the full picture in relation to the number of apprentices in the workforce. The static position indicates fewer Graduate Apprentices and only a modest increase in Modern Apprentices. However, in reality there are now fourteen Modern Apprentices in cohort 1 on the new building standards apprenticeship pathway. It is encouraging to see that a Foundation Apprentice gained workplace experience last year to learn more about the profession and gain a valuable insight to a career in building standards.
4.10. The number of qualifications held across the workforce is consistent with previous years while the number of qualifications currently being studied is at its highest level since the data collection started. The reduction in Masters degree qualifications held may be explained by staff in more senior roles leaving the profession through retirement while the increase (+7) in staff currently studying for Honours degree qualifications indicates the commitment from individuals to further their career and also the essential support from employers for the development of staff.
4.11. There is a marked increase in the number of staff who left the profession compared to both the 2020 and 2021 datasets. The retirement rate has increased each year but the step change in 2022 was greater than seen previously. The removal of COVID-19 restrictions may be a key factor in the increase in the number of staff choosing to progress their career elsewhere either in a building standards role in a different local authority or by leaving the profession to work in the private sector. This may be as a consequence of the deferral of decisions on career choices in 2020 and 2021.
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