I'm a Quantity Surveyor (chartered last year) for a fairly large private practice. I came to the industry a bit late having done a none construction degree and converted via a part time master’s degree whilst working (this was funded by the company that I work for).
I work in the retail team and generally enjoy my job. I work with a good bunch of people which makes the bad days more bearable because there is always some mick taking etc going on. I was pretty disappointed when I was first told that I was going into the retail team because it’s an area that most construction folk sneer at. As it turns out, I've been pretty lucky and have worked on some really big jobs. The company I work for are pretty laid back, so I can work from home, leave early if needed although I am also expected to put the hours in when needed.
Pay has been a bit of a rollercoaster since I joined in 2007; I took a pay cut to retrain because I hated construction recruitment and got a really good pay rise in my first salary review which was followed by a pay cut when the recession bit. I had pay rises after the cut, but they were pretty small and money was tight for a few years. Over the last couple it’s got much better, especially now that I am chartered. I guess I earn above the national average, but more would always be nice!
There are frustrations with stuff like cars because our company car scheme is rubbish being limited to Ford and Vauxhall but the allowance is weak too, so it doesn’t stack up financially. The fact that the company are laid back is great on one hand but annoying on others because they don’t manage people too well which is frustrating for someone like me who is keen to get on. My major frustration is that construction was never presented as a career opportunity when I was at school – it was all about banking, finance, law etc. Had I known more I would never had done my pointless marketing degree and done something more relevant. I love the building side of things – being on site and seeing something take shape is fascinating (especially on my last project which was a huge eco store).