As specialist recruiters within the built environment, our team interview hundreds of professionals every week from within the sector, from those that are tenured senior industry professionals to those that are just starting in their career.

To ensure our clients are meeting people, not just with the right experience, but also with an aligned set of goals, it is a big part of our role to get under the skin of what makes people tick and the reasons behind deciding that their current role and/or company needs to change.

Naturally, we talk a lot about change and how changing role/company/situation could solve their challenges or make their long-term goals more achievable. One of the main topics we find ourselves talking about is around the different types of company in the market. Often, people are not sure exactly what they want, they just “want something different”.

Having never diversified within their market, professionals often have a limited idea on the factors to consider when moving to a different type of company. Sometimes, they are aware of the differing salaries offered (better or worse) and often they have seen a colleague make the leap and have heard the ‘grass is greener’.

With this in mind, we wanted to outline what we have learnt from our thousands of conversations and break down some of the ‘need-to-know’ pros and considerations when choosing to work within Consultancy, Contractor and Developer/End Client.  In this, the first edition, we will be concentrating on Consultancies. 

Consultancy (PQS)

Consultancies (PQS) typically employ Partners, QS (all levels), Project Management (all levels) and also often have specialist teams such as Project Monitoring, Claims, Building Surveying, M&E, Dispute, Quant etc

Consultancy is big business, part of the market home to a huge range of companies from multi-national, multi-billion pound turnover right down to smaller, ambitious operations that are trying to make a name for themselves. They essentially offer the same services, however, often the culture and environment within the company can be quite different so do bear this in mind.

Consultancy – pros


Usually you will have the chance to work on a wide variety of projects both sector wise and types of project (new, refurb, change of use etc).

There will likely be the opportunity to work on projects at different stages (Pre-Contract, Close Out)


Chance to become a specialist in a certain niche or vertical market but equally mobile to change should the landscape change. Larger businesses in the sector also typically have multiple offices and drive internal moves and relocation.

Professional Development 

Due to the nature of consultancy and a company’s staff forming part of their USP / business development toolkit, companies in the PQS world tend to take your development very seriously – Chartership (MRICS/APC), Degree, MSc, APM etc.

Career Progression

Within Consultancy there are plenty of networking opportunities (internal and external) to put yourself front of mind for an internal promotion or external move.

Chance to influence and win your own client base (upskill in this area). Most roles at Associate and above tend to have an expectation of business development as part of their remit.

Business Development Element allows you to take control of your own career progression and make waves.

Job Stablility

You are an asset that is in demand, you have a real tangible value on the work that you perform and the PQS market is highly competitive for qualified people.

Find a culture that fits you

Due to the nature of their business, Consultancies tend to have office environments that really focus on making their staff enjoy their work, wellness is a hot topic right in the industry and most companies are utilising technology to improve work-life balance and efficiency.

Because of the huge variety of companies in this sector you are likely to be able to find one that fits you, whether you prefer a more structured or a more relaxed environment, there are a plethora of options.

Consultancy – Considerations

Salaries & Bonuses

Salaries and bonuses can be higher within Developers and Contractors under senior level, however, many companies that we speak to are now more open to flexing budget and work/life balance than ever before especially for niche skills.

Lack of project influence

Often you will be dealing with projects at an arm’s length. Whilst for some people this can be great others feel that with a developer or end client you have more chance to influence and shape project outcomes.

Processes & Rules

Some of the larger consultancies, by nature of their size, can have more processes and rules. However, a number of small to medium, more dynamic companies have been formed in the last 10 years who are bucking this trend.


We would love you hear your thoughts and comments on the above, do you agree? Have you experienced any different from the above?

As stated, there a wide variety of businesses in this sector and the above is purely a summary. However, we hope that you have found these breakdowns useful when assessing your potential career options.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Contractors, coming soon…