The economic downturn has exposed pressure on real estate practices to cut corners and brought an increased focus on standards of competence and regulation. Todayís real estate graduates emerge into a highly competitive and difficult jobs market. Their first job can be all important, not only to the continuing development of their professional competence, but also to reinforcing their ethical stance and outlook that can determine success throughout the rest of their career. This is a main finding of research undertaken by the authors while working at the College of Estate Management, Reading (CEM). This paper argues that the incorporation of ethical training into pre-qualification education and on-going life-long learning is all important. It draws on a series of three UK based projects in 2007-1010 that investigate the way in which surveyors understand and manage ethics, according to the stage of their career and the size of firm that they work for. The research includes analysis of an online ethics debate involving CEM masterís degree students who have property industry experience; interviews with property professionals from nine of the top 25 UK property services firms; a questionnaire survey of RICS Commercial Property Professional Group members; and a focus group involving chartered surveyors from firms ranging in size. Fundamentally, the research found that young surveyors express more concern about ethics than their senior colleagues and, at the same time, are strongly influenced by their actions. The findings presented in the paper are relevant to understanding how good ethics are learned, managed and perpetuated in surveying firms and to informing the role that professional regulation and education need to play.