Addressing the Skills Shortage in Surveying

For more than 10 years, a skills shortage in the surveying and spatial field has been steadily growing. According to the National Skills Commission, the number of surveyors cannot meet the current levels of demand in any Australian state and territory.

Industry groups, like The Surveyors’ Trust, have been sounding the alarm on this shortfall, while calling for action to address the crisis in our workforce.

But what more can we all do as businesses in this space to close the skill gap? SEAM Spatial’s Chief Operating Officer, Duncan MacDougal, has some insights into how we might attract new surveyors for a long-term and sustainable talent pipeline.



In March 2023, Consulting Surveyors National presented their findings from the Determining the Future Demand, Supply & Skills Gap for Surveying and Geospatial Professionals: 2022-2032 study.

Surveying firms from across the east coast of Australia attended the event in Brisbane (including SEAM Spatial) to learn more about the skills challenge over the next 10 years.

With research conducted by BIS Oxford Economics, it highlighted the ongoing technician deficit – while discussing practical recommendations to combat it.



Market demand for surveying and geospatial services will continue to grow over the next 10 years. Because projects need surveyors to get started, a continued inability to meet industry demand could cause delays in major infrastructure throughout Australia.

surveying and geospatial professionals comprise the current national workforce

extra professionals will be required each year to meet national demand

Queensland in particular faces elevated pressure, thanks to record levels of forecasted construction and mining activity. This is primarily due to high levels of public funding for infrastructure projects – especially those required for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

professionals will be needed in Queensland to meet our needs by 2029

professionals will work in Queensland by 2029, without action to increase numbers

SEAM’s COO, Duncan, highlights the importance of getting spatial firms from across the east coast together to discuss possible solutions to this crisis. “This is a problem that we can only address together,” he says. “We’ve got to engage with young people and show them just how rewarding this career can be.”


As part of their report, BIS Oxford Economics put forward four key actions to work towards as soon as possible:

  • Increase the number of enrolments in surveying and spatial courses
  • Improve educational progression across a surveyor’s career
  • Focus on improving flexibility in internal labour mobility
  • Utilise technologies and systems to improve productivity

Several programs already in place aim to improve the number of Australian studying surveying – including:

The Surveyors Academy
An learning opportunity developed to train the next generation of surveyors

Surveying Careers
An initiative that aims to increase the number of school students entering the field

Destination Spatial
An industry body that provides direction and resources to enable future professionals to join our industry

A Life Without Limits
An organisation that connects people with study pathways and work placements – plus ‘Get Kids into Survey’ resources


Aside from advocating for more TAFE places and increased government funding, SEAM continues to actively encourage entries into our profession. Duncan stresses how important it is to go beyond simple outreach at school events and career expos. Real sponsorship and support are at the heart of increasing participation in any professional field.”


SEAM is continually building study and training pathways for our future surveyors. Its NextGen program aims to:

  • give young people the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals;
  • reduce the burden of academic costs; and
  • offer the potential for secure and fulfilling employment.


for Bachelor of Spatial Science students – including paid employment opportunities and contribution towards study expenses


for Certificates III and IV in Surveying and Spatial Information Services alongside full-time work with study leave

Undergraduate support

with work experience, casual paid employment opportunities or full-time cadetships

Professional development

with financial, study and mentoring support ultimately geared towards registration

Duncan says that SEAM is currently supporting 15 employees through qualifications, with several employees being mentored through their registration process. “We find that genuinely caring about nurturing and growing our team is the surest way to beat the skills challenges that lie ahead.”

Learn more about how SEAM is making surveying a more attractive industry for our team to thrive in – with a focus on technology and people.