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How important is RICS membership?

How important is RICS membership for property professionals seeking employment  in the GCC region today?


The employment market in the real estate sector in the Gulf is an interesting and challenging one!
It attracts a huge diversity of individuals from around the globe all seeking a variety of goals.

These include: a tax free income, an ex-pat lifestyle, a unique experience working on very large scale projects, working with international blue chip consultancies and working in a fascinating and challenging multicultural environment. To discern and qualify high caliber and competent individuals from this large group can be very difficult. Over the past 10 years the market has edged forward towards maturity and transparency at different levels in different parts of the GCC and the regulatory bodies and governments around the region have been very keen to raise standards of professionalism and corporate governance.

To this end, having a singular standard recognized global property qualification (MRICS membership) is very important for this slowly maturing business environment. The qualification is very important across all surveying disciplines but particularly in the complex field of valuation where report signing and maintaining professional standards and ethics are of the utmost importance. On the technical side of the industry the qualification is valued highly for quantity surveyors, commercial and contracts managers and project managers.
From our perspective in recruitment as we identify individuals and seek to determine strong candidates, to have this benchmark is invaluable and we will always encourage people to register with the RICS and seek qualification by the traditional or newer pathways if they are new to the region.

We have also noticed that medium sized and smaller regional developers, landlords, family offices and other occupiers of property are now much more aware of the RICS qualification  and will ask us to source qualified candidates where possible. 

For any member entering the region there are a number of significant advantages:

There is a solid social network amongst RICS members in the Gulf, with a variety of social and CPD events being held each year. There is an extensive network of regional contacts that can be accessed which can offer friendly help and advice when arriving in a new and unfamiliar country. General market information and knowledge and particularly transactional evidence and valuation comparables can be shared. Other RICS advisory boards and panels exist around the region and for various sectors of the industry (including the Market Advisory Panel) which allows members to be involved in shaping and influencing government policy and upholding best practice and RICS standards.

It is a simple fact that qualified surveyors can attain better roles with better companies. Senior executives in the large consultancies, practices and developers  that are already members will almost always specify RICS qualification as non negotiable for candidates (alongside  relevant experience of course).

We have also noticed that salaries for qualified members tend to be higher and promotion can be achieved more quickly. Consultancies and advisory practices can charge out their qualified members’ time at a higher rate.  We will often advise graduates to finish their APC first in their home country before seeking employment here. We have recruited many property professionals from other parts of the globe including the US, Europe, Australasia and Asia that have differing skills across the industry but they all have the RICS qualification in common.    

It is also worth noting that a good number of UAE Nationals have undertaken the RICS qualification over the years. This may improve future employment prospects for them and will help facilitate the gradual transfer of skills from expatriates to local workers over time. 

In conclusion we feel that the RICS qualification significantly improves the employment prospects of the property professional seeking employment in the GCC and we are very happy to work alongside the RICS and its member firms to recruit top caliber individuals in the region.     

Written by Ben Waddilove, Director, Macdonald and Company - Dubai
You can connect with Ben on LinkedIn by clicking here