How to future-proof your career

Make sure you're ready for the latest tech developments in the property industry. Director Monique Royle MRICS from Christie & Co gives her advice on staying ahead.

“Our profession is facing up to a new generation of property technology and we all have to get onboard with it,” says Monique. “Effective and targeted CPD training is the smart way to future-proof your surveying career.”

More than 20 years as a valuations surveyor in the licensed and leisure sector – as well as a seat on the RICS Governing Council – has given Monique a unique perspective on career development. Here she shares her advice:

“There are so many good reasons why an ambitious surveyor should take CPD seriously, not least because it’s compulsory to retain your chartered status. These reasons include boosting your own external profile and getting your expertise out there, raising standards across the profession and providing a better-than-ever service to your clients. But I do think there’s been some complacency about using CPD to future-proof people’s careers and a slight resistance towards incoming property technology (‘proptech’).”



Monique Royle MRICS

Future-proofing matters

“Traditionally, land surveyors have been brilliant about embracing technology, such as geo-mapping, LiDAR and surveying by drone. But technology cannot be ignored by the rest of us.

A 2017 report by RICS revealed that 88% of the core tasks in surveying are ‘ripe for automation’, so we need to be future-facing. We need to be looking very hard at the skills we need to remain relevant. And this is where CPD is so important. We can only act in the public interest if we stay up to date, so we actually have a duty to our clients to future-proof our own careers.

In commercial surveying, valuations can now be automated with logarithms, using adjustable parameters. For example, when I was at Colliers International we developed a tool called Valuation Express, in partnership with CoStar, which enables the valuation calculations software and the inspection app to fully integrate with the report templates. There’s less input required by humans, which means we can get more valuations done in a more client-friendly format.”

Proptech is here to stay

“I don’t think we should be scared of technology because I strongly believe that effective proptech can allow us to do the things we’re already good at, much better. Technology can reduce or eliminate the risk of human error, it can improve transparency and accessibility, and it also provides evidence and comparable data.

If a task is structured, repeatable and predictable, then it will be automated. Humans get bored doing that kind of work and that’s when errors creep in, so why not let technology take over? It’s then up to us as humans to interpret it.

What gets me really excited about the future of surveying is the prospect of using proptech to work smarter. If there was a tool that checked rateable values, flood risk and planning applications, then produced it all in a report for me… happy days!”

Play, not pray

“Jeffrey B Straubel from Tesla once said there are three types of people in this world: ‘prayers’ who pray it’s all going to go away and not happen; ‘stayers’ who carry on operating within their realm and tinker around the edges – they accept it’s going to happen but don’t really do much more; and ‘players’ who jump in headfirst, wanting to know and learn more. In our profession, we need more prayers to turn into stayers, and more stayers to become players. We also need to disrupt from within our own industry because we need to be in charge of our own future.

Drones have already revolutionised inspections and property surveying by reducing costs, providing permanent evidence and enabling fly-throughs of very large sites. Virtual reality (VR) is being used for visualisation far in advance of construction, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) is removing the need to re-measure properties because the information stays with the building throughout its life cycle. Blockchain is expected to have an effect on surveying too because it’s a completely secure and verifiable way of distributing information, including transactions. This could be massively influential in terms of sharing contracts and valuations.”

Optimising Artificial Intelligence (AI) for good

“The funny thing is that most surveyors do lots of CPD and self-learning without even realising it. I would always urge people to reassess the definition of what CPD means in the context of their own career and be open to learning outcomes of any kind. There’s a big difference between experience and knowledge, and experience doesn’t always mean everything.

By using your CPD hours to get up to date with relevant technology, we can then make the most of our human qualities – like imagination, intuition, social intelligence, empathy and collaboration – to interpret the information and relay it to our clients in a way that they can readily understand. RICS courses cover a huge range of technical topics and there have also been lots of big proptech conferences and round-table discussions – all of which allow our profession to stay current and relevant. As surveyors, it’s up to us to future-proof our skills base by making AI work on our behalf.”

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