The state of the surveying profession in Africa: a Ghanaian perspective

Franklin Obeng‐Odoom (Department of Political Economy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Stephen Ameyaw (Department of Real Estate and Land Management, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Publication date: 28 June 2011



The purpose of this paper is to assess the extent to which the process of becoming a surveyor in Ghana mirrors a broad conception of professionalism.


The work is grounded in field research in the form of interviews/survey conducted by the authors in Ghana. The sample is drawn in such a way that the work benefits from the experiences of people at different levels of surveying training.


The study reveals that professional surveying training in Ghana is effective but narrow: senior surveyors do provide mentoring to probationers, but they engage in poor labour practices; probationers do obtain professional training, but many of their expectations are not met. While there are both costs and benefits to the mentors and mentees, the study finds that, on balance, the process of professionalisation is designed to favour a few owners of surveying firms.

Practical implications

It is the intention of the authors that this work would contribute to a process of “conscientisation”. The paper provides part of the basis for young surveyors to reject being passive recipients of instruction to becoming active workers and professionals who have a deep awareness of the social reality which shapes their professional lives and understand how they can reshape that reality.


This research work is the first study of the state of professionalism and work conditions of surveyors in Ghana. The study sheds light on the conditions under which surveyors work and shows how professional they are. On the one hand, this study provides the opportunity for prospective surveyors in Ghana to reflect on their aspiration before embarking on that “journey”. On the other hand, it gives practising surveyors a basis for reflecting on how the profession can be improved.



Obeng‐Odoom, F. and Ameyaw, S. (2011), "The state of the surveying profession in Africa: a Ghanaian perspective", Property Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 262-284.

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