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Navigating Your Journey to FRICS: A Guide for Women in Surveying

frics women in surveying

A fellowship from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) could be considered a tick-box exercise. RICS members currently pay more to hold membership as a fellow (and currently, if you want to downgrade back to MRICS, you can’t). If you are commercially minded, you might not see the benefit in the process if you cannot charge more fees.

For some, however, achieving FRICS is the icing, the pinnacle of your career, and it is one heck of a confidence boost. A fellowship is about being recognised for what you have accomplished in your career and your values and objectives aligning with the RICS. It’s about bringing meaning to your work.


My Fellowship Journey

My fellowship journey started when I was at the lowest point in my life, thinking my career was over as I left a toxic work environment. At a time when I felt I had no professional network, I was able to create one and encouraged to apply. I set up a Facebook group and shared how I approached the application with other women. There were certainly highs and lows. I’m pleased to say in 2019, the highest number of women in RICS history achieved fellowship - the majority through our little group.

My FRICS journey was asking myself if I was a surveyor anymore. I have never forgotten the encouragement I received and the belief others had in me, and since then, I have been committed to increasing the number of women with an RICS fellowship for two reasons. Firstly, it changed my life, and I now recognise the kind of surveyor I am and what I bring to the profession. Secondly, because of those who are fellows, just 4% are women - we are talking just a few hundred out of a membership of over 135,000.

It is not good enough, and women deserve better.


How women can benefit from the FRICS application process

And I say process because you might decide not to apply because of how you feel about your RICS membership. While I can do little about that, working through my approach can bring new insights into your career and consider what you might do in the future - accolades are only worth having if they are meaningful and make a difference. 

The sad fact is many women do not get the encouragement they need or deserve in their careers from their professional peers, who are predominantly male. Women who attend our sessions and hang out in our network often talk about imposter syndrome, lack of experience, or even being discouraged by their line managers.

Which is why female support can and does make all the difference. We don’t exclude men - some have shared their submissions with us as examples, and we have a network of people happy to review and give feedback. Safe encouraging spaces for women to know they are not alone in asking that daft question or when they are having a wobble can make all the difference.


Procrastination and Imposter Syndrome

Two words many of us experience, especially in a professional capacity. You may have all the professional expertise you need over a wide and varied career; it’s just a case of putting the pieces together and writing the submission. It should be easy.

But too often, I find women procrastinating, crippled with self-doubt and not feeling good or experienced enough. I’m guessing you may even have flicked through the applications guide, landed on the part that asks if you have written a book or been on TV, and closed it again, thinking that will never happen.

If you feel this way, the first thing to say is that you are not alone. This insightful article changed how I felt about my imposter syndrome, demonstrating that we don’t feel so different when we feel welcome. I have certainly experienced and seen it as women navigate their FRICS together.


How to get started

Through the Women in Surveying network, we want to support you in applying for RICS fellowship. I have created a free webinar to help you get started; we also have a Facebook and WhatsApp group you can join. We host monthly drop-in Q&A sessions where you can ask questions and find someone to review your submission and get ideas for filling any gaps. The support is informal, fun and friendly.

So, if you are ready to explore your MRICS to FRICS journey, here is how to get started:

  • Watch the webinar at the top of this article, which takes you through my approach to gathering everything you need for your FRICS application. I take this approach to help you tune into the great things you have done in your career and to help you overcome any niggles of self-doubt. 
  • Then, access the RICS fellowship materials on their website here - do it before, and you may get cold feet! Everything is in the application guide.
  • You can register for one of our monthly Q&A Drop-In sessions here. We will send you details, including examples, the webinar slides and a link to join the WhatsApp group. You can attend as often as you like to ask questions or listen in and support others.


Wherever you are on your FRICS journey, you deserve to enjoy it. Take the opportunity to reflect on how far you have come and the impact you want to make with the rest of your career. It is a unique time and opportunity to revisit where you are and what matters to you. 

In return, I ask that you pay it forward and support other women; I promise you, it's a great feeling.


Need some extra help or support for more people in your surveying business? Find out more about my coaching and mentoring services here.


Marion Ellis
Founder of Love Surveying, The Surveyor Hub and Women in Surveying
Coach, Mentor and Business Consultant for Surveyors


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