White, middle-aged men in high-vis jackets—what most people visualize when they think of surveyors—isn’t a very appealing career option for our youth, especially compared to idolized professions of actress, athlete, doctor, or even YouTuber.
In fact, ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and chances are they’ve probably never even heard the word geospatial. Unsurprising given the industry isn’t heavily recognizable, despite underpinning so much of the national curriculum and the heroic stories that children read, watch, and listen to growing up.
Surveying is about much more than simply measuring distances and angles of land and natural features. There’s so much that children can become truly excited about—the Egyptian pyramids, space exploration, Stonehenge, finding the Titanic, flying drones, the study of volcanoes, and discovering lost cities.
As an industry, we’re missing an opportunity. We need to educate and inspire the next generation, or it will be impossible to solve the recruitment problem the surveying profession is facing. Our youth are our industry’s last hope.
There are drastically dwindling numbers of youngsters choosing a career in surveying. In fact, the average age of surveyors globally is 55, and there is a huge problem bringing in new recruits—especially women and young people.
Since 2017, Get Kids into Survey has been a passion project for myself and my sister, Elly. By now you’ve seen the poster polybagged with this issue. Fun, isn’t it? We work to drive change, to inspire young people, and make surveying accessible and appealing.
Change starts from within. Each one of us has a chance—a responsibility—to step things up; to raise awareness; to showcase what our industry does and what it can offer young people as they decide their career paths.
We need to show that surveying and geospatial is more than getting muddy and donning hi-vis vests. The career opportunities and wealth of projects are vast and lucrative, and the geospatial industry is ready and waiting to welcome young, talented minds.
It starts here. With us. And it’s now or never. Are you game?