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Perception often leads to reality. In the final weeks of every December, we conduct an industry-wide survey in cooperation with the 10 premier Real Estate Professional Associations, whose Career Centers are powered by SelectLeaders. Again this year, a rich mix of Real Estate Professionals: Candidates, Employers, Principals, Top-line Managers, and HR Executives share their insights and perspectives on the Real Estate Job Market and its prospects for the year ahead in their own words.

2011 Real Estate Hiring Trends Survey Results


The 2011 SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network “Hiring Trends Survey Results” resonated with a “Survivors’ Perspective”


The 2011 SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network “Hiring Trends Survey Results” resonated with a “Survivors’ Perspective”. Nearly 50% of respondents predict a “Moderate Recovery”, and only 11% forecast contraction. Yet 36% predict that the commercial real estate industry will remain flat – same as the end of 2010, and only 3% thought that a full recovery would be possible.

When we asked for insights in your own words, our industry appeared determined to wait it out … survive. Many were ready to hunker down until 2012, while some predicted it will take until 2014 to see any real recovery.

After two years of reports of total compensation being “flat”, or cut, 47% of respondents predicted their total compensation would increase in 2011. 39% still believe that it will remain flat.

22% of the 751 Real Estate professionals and employers reported that no one in their company received bonuses at the end of 2010. Yet a substantial 47% reported that their company rewarded top performers.

An overwhelming 85% responded that their Real Estate company asked employees to take on additional responsibilities for the same pay.

Will hiring increase to lessen the load? 42% believe hiring will increase in 2011. An equal 42% believe that hiring will remain the same.

Our forecast – it’s time to brush up on those multiple skill sets that employers are seeking, while the Real Estate industry slowly and steadily recovers.

Compared to last year, in 2010 did your base salary:

Despite the recession did your company reward top performers?

In 2010 did your company ask employees to take on additional responsibilities for the same pay?

Compared to this year, in 2011 do you expect your company’s total cash compensation (base salary and bonus) to:

Compared to this year, in 2011 do you expect your company’s hiring to:

What is your outlook for the commercial real estate industry in 2011, compared to 2010?

With a rich mix of over 900 Real Estate Professionals surveyed, we share with you what your colleagues are saying about the commercial real estate job market and its prospects, in their own words:

When will the recovery happen?

  • “We will see more tenants fail but it should be offset by companies that have positioned themselves for growth. It will take at least 3 years before our market can handle any new projects.”
  • “I predict an increase in commercial foreclosure activity; a continuation of extreme limitations in credit markets; a continuation of the disturbing trend of shipping jobs overseas; and a modest recovery in specific industries.”
  • “Credit appears to be loosening up, but the manufacturing sector is still short on sources. I believe job growth will continue to be anemic, and that fallout from state and local revenue shortfalls continuing to add to this picture. I don’t see anything close to a recovery until 2014.”
  • “Architects are getting a bit busier which is usually an indication that movement will begin to increase.”
  • “Outlook is flat. We cut to the bone in 2009 and then more in 2010. Our concern is losing talent. We will not hire but will reward more… who are and have been doing more.”
  • “Commercial real estate lags residential real estate by 16 months. If you think residential real estate has bottomed, then you should expect commercial real estate to bottom within sixteen months. Traders with billions of cash can make more money shorting the declining commercial real estate market using real estate derivatives than actually participating in the transactions market. The market is stalled due to perverse CMBS work out procedures and FDIC loss share agreements.”
  • “Asia and countries like Brazil will grow but the US will struggle as long as economic development is not a policy priority.”
  • “Firms need to get back to business. Too much institutional money sitting on the sidelines waiting for a fire sale that never came thanks to the bail out.”
  • “Developers that I have spoken to believe we hit the bottom and see land being purchased ready for an increase ground up development. Most believe 2011 will see a moderate increase in deals with a big year in 2012.”

Where are the jobs?

  • “I am involved in healthcare real estate development. Overall, our sector seems to be the only sector moving forward with developments and projects on a consistent basis. I see the healthcare sector to experience continued growth throughout the next several years.”
  • “2011 will be a year of capturing trophy properties at discount. Apt. buildings will do well as more people walk away from single family homes, for renting. The Baby Boomers are done, which is a huge market. They are not buying. They are getting older and want apt. living. The next 2 generations want to travel and not settle down. Construction will remain flat for 2011 throughout 2014.”
  • “Nimble and creative with low overhead will do well. Large corporate deals will still take place. Correction on industrial and retail will affect landlords who hold mortgage and can’t get financing. Others will keep their properties empty or will lease on short-term basis. Alternative use of spaces (retail as storage, warehouse as showroom) has already begun in NYC.”
  • “Due to the extreme glut of commercial space and overage of construction in the recent past, the commercial space will continue to contract. An uptick in acquisitions should be experienced In areas where growth does occur. Green / LEED and other renewables do appear to be in favor.”
  • “I also expect some consolidation (mergers) of companies and a continued move towards REITs.”

Last year, 65% of the respondents either had their salaries cut back, or if they remained the same, were given more responsibilities. The effect of the economy at a personal level cannot be overlooked:

  • “I am a senior commercial real estate professional – I got downsized in June 2009 and have not been able to find permanent employment. Most available positions are at the analyst/associate level, and as much as I have indicated my acceptance to take a step back, I have been denied as being “overqualified”. Bottom lines of companies look great because of all the SGA cuts – however until top line revenue grows (which is where senior level folks are needed – not more analysts) everything is smoke and mirrors!!!”
  • “You can tell this recession is not over by the number of companies still downsizing and laying off workers. I thought the industry was on the upswing, however many businesses are merging or being swallowed by a larger company in their respective industry. Unfortunately, I find that positions that are vacated in my company are not filled. Instead they are asking existing employees to take on parts of the vacating person’s desk.”
  • “After two miserable years of reduced wages and benefits, the company has again reduced staff leaving me without a job. Interviewing has been slow, and employers are cutting base pay offerings, cutting benefits offered, and are extremely cautious. Something has to change.”
  • “Unless I get a sale/lease transaction closed, I will most likely be out of business.”

Methodology: The survey was emailed to Employers registered on the SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network in the last weeks of December, 2012, and also to registered Job Seekers who have opted-in for emails. The survey was conducted using a web-based survey program.


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