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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.

2012 Real Estate Hiring Trends Survey Results


The Real Estate industry was overwhelmingly positive about the potential for their personal careers and for their businesses in 2012, with only 21% believing hiring will decrease in 2012.


The Real Estate industry was overwhelmingly positive about the potential for their personal careers and for their businesses in 2012, with only 21% believing hiring will decrease in 2012. One needs to remember the survey data results when reading the excerpts (which reflect many similar responses) of what our industry had to say about 2012 in their own words. While surprisingly upticks were reported from businesses in most real estate sectors, it is obvious people needed to vent their frustrations with the economy and the ramifications for our industry.

Compensation Trends?

Despite 2010 and 2011 realities: 58% of real estate professionals did not receive a bonus in 2010. Over half of respondents (54%) did not anticipate bonuses as of December, 2011. Also in 2011, 61% of salaries either, remained the same (36%), or decreased (25%) …

In 2012, nearly 60% of our industry forecast total cash compensation (base salary and bonus) will increase. One respondent explained: My company’s re-organization “will create a 15% reduction in total salary and 10% reduction in force – base salaries for remaining employees will rise for everyone in order to do more with less employees.”

71% reported that hiring either decreased (35%), or remained the same (36%) in 2011.

Hiring predictions for 2012?

79% believe that in 2012 hiring will increase (32%), or remain the same (47%). Only 21% believe that hiring will decrease.

64% of respondents witnessed a significant trend in senior level hiring: 37% reported that senior level positions have not been replaced, while 27% replied that senior level positions were replaced by employees with less experience. These insights were offered: “Companies will continue to hire extremely well-qualified individuals for significantly less. The key for employers will be how they recognize and reward these executives.” “I think that hiring of lower-level personnel will continue and may well increase. Such additions to staff should allow senior level personnel to increase their productivity, generating more deals, income and activity.”

The trend we noted last year of one person doing the work that 2 to 3 people did before 2008 – was a cause for concern: “Multi tasking to the point of diminishing quality and job satisfaction may leave a lot of execs facing early burnout… “Companies will continue doing more with less and pushing employees to the brink.” Please scroll down for more about 2012 Real Estate Trends, in your own words.

Compared to last year, in 2011 did your base salary:

In 2012, do you expect your total compensation (salary+bonus) to:

Did you receive a bonus in 2010?

Do you expect a bonus in 2011?

Compared to the previous year, in 2011 did your company’s hiring:

In 2012, do you expect your company’s hiring to:

In 2011, has your company replaced vacant senior positions with:

 

In your own words, please provide any of your perspectives and insights on the year ahead…

We share with you below what employers (principals, top-line managers, and HR executives), and qualified real estate candidates are saying about the commercial real estate job market and its prospects, in their own words:

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:

2012 Hiring Trends in your own words:

  • “Investors will struggle with how to generate returns in a low interest rate environment – real estate could look very attractive on a relative value basis compared to Treasuries and Corporate bonds which could compress yields even further in gateway cities.”
  • “I think my firm will continue to try and do more with less – IE if two employees leave they will only hire one.”
  • “Multi tasking to the point of diminishing quality and job satisfaction may leave a lot of execs facing early burnout…”
  • “2012 will be similar to 2011 in that companies will continue doing more with less and pushing employees to the brink.”
  • “Hiring has remained tight and movement has been lateral vs. upward. Many new employees seem to be seeking out a different sector within the real estate field (e.g. sell side vs. buy side) than moving up the corporate chain.”
  • “Continued sluggishness in Q1 and Q2 and optimistic Q3 will be the real turning point.”
  • “It’s been rough, but 2012 holds some optimism….especially as we get closer to 2013.”
  • “2013 promises to be a better year.”
  • “The reality is that the bar has been reset with many people working for lower salaries doing tasks beneath both their skill/tenure level.”
  • “Poor prospects for mid-level real estate professionals to find positions comparable to those lost in the last several years.”
  • “Salaries have decreased dramatically for new or vacant positions. I would guess around thirty percent. Also I have noted a lack of follow up after interviews. It is extremely disappointing that some companies view this employer-driven market as a reason to forego common courtesies.”

Who’s Hiring? In your own words

Multi-Housing:

  • “The multifamily market continues to stay hot and it is full steam ahead.”
  • “The only apparent bright spot in the near term will be multi-family assets.”
  • “… apartment development looking to be strong.”
  • “Hiring in the multifamily sector of real estate should see improvement as that sector continues to grow and as companies, heavy with cash, begin to improve compensation levels for their top performers.”
  • “In my role as president and CEO I am optimistic about rent growth in 2012.”

Asset Management:

  • “Trends are: front-end position eliminations and back-end (asset management, servicing, regulatory, etc.) additions.”
  • “No more acquisition jobs, folks with asset management experience will do fine.”
  • “Less ground up development (replacement cost has increased) and more value-add/moderate distressed buying so more asset managers and (distressed) acquisitions hires.

The NEW Property (Asset) Management:

  • “Since we are no longer outsourcing property management services to 3rd party managers, the property managers will take on more job responsibilities that the asset managers are handling resulting in layoffs in (Asset Management in) 2012.”

Development:

  • “In Atlanta we are starting to see some large projects in the planning stage, which is the first time since 2008.”
  • “Slight uptick in activity … may see some additional staff in development/construction added in 2012 for first time in 4 years.”
  • “I do see some continuation in energy retrofit projects.”
  • “Quality mixed-use development in urban and suburban areas integrating multi-family housing, retail, and office offer diversification of uses to mitigate risk.”

Corporate Real Estate (Rehab Development)

  • “Lots of reorganization. New senior and mid-level positions require greater business acumen, planning skills, and operational management experience. This is the Corporate RE perspective from my view.”

Brokerage and Appraisal:

  • “My sense is that things are picking up ever so slightly in the arena of Brokerage.”
  • “Experienced brokers have left for other firms where compensation is reportedly better and an opportunity for ownership exists.”
  • “The commercial appraisal industry remains stable with respect to employment demand. Well trained senior level analysts remain in demand and there is appetite for entry level trainees. Work flow is anticipated to increase in 2012.”

Finance:

  • “Analyst hiring remains stable. Niche businesses such as high-yield debt hiring may increase”
  • “Commercial real estate folks are hoping that banks start selling off their assets in 2012 so new jobs can be created for workouts, underwriting and asset management. A win win for all.”

Unemployed and Struggling Companies (while this survey is on hiring, many have not recovered):

  • “My job as owner of a residential development company is over after 20 years in business. I’m praying to find a new job somewhere after bankruptcy and foreclosure following the last three dismal years.”
  • “I have been unemployed since 2009, I am a very skilled senior level person and have not been able to find suitable work. There are many people like me out in the job market…”
  • “I have been unemployed for almost a year. I have never had problems getting a job until this last year.”

Our industry’s greatest concern? The Government…The Euro…

  • “Due to the Euro problems, upcoming elections and banking instability … firms (will) take a “wait and see” posture until some stability is created.”
  • “The uncertain political climate in the US has paralyzed our board’s ability to make decisions that involve risk … until Washington stops its bipolar behavior.”
  • “Tax cuts, reduction of job outsourcing and investment in domestic infrastructure should be the focus of Washington to prevent us from losing our edge as the number one super power and economy. And lets cut out getting involved in other countries’ affairs … creates more enemies and wastes lives and money.”
  • “Country bankrupted by wars and careless gifting to third world.”
  • “… our government only governs by crisis!”
  • “The year ahead looks dismal due to the economy and Washington politicians unable to agree on what day of the week it is.”
  • “Not good because of the inability of Congress to get things done in a cooperative manner that benefits the people they should be representing.”

…and Housing:

  • “We need sustained improvement in the housing sector! Euro interest in US real estate investment is gaining traction…”
  • “THE HOUSING INDUSTRY HAS TO IMPROVE BEFORE OUR ECONOMY CAN REALLY GROW.”
  • “Different from all times since the 50’s is a massive paradigm shift in consumer preferences. People want flexibility and convenience, and a better total quality of life. A pricy house in the suburbs will no longer deliver on that wish. Time has finally been recognized (by younger generations) for what it is – our most precious resource. No longer is two hours a day in the car on a jam packed freeway the answer to our dreams.”

Senior-Level Hiring

  • “Companies will continue to hire extremely well-qualified individuals for significantly less. Whether this results in less motivated employees, additional career movement, or companies reaping short term benefits is yet to be seen. The key for employers will be how they recognize and reward these executives.”
  • “Salaries have been re-calibrated lower for several reasons: excess supply of senior talent in the unemployed and underemployed ranks, everyone is re-trenching and lowering their expectations.”
  • “I believe that companies will continue to fill senior positions with more junior level employees or seek to limit salaries of senior level positions, as they seek to keep costs under control until they have more confidence in the staying power of the recovery.”
  • “I think that hiring of lower-level personnel will continue and may well increase. Such additions to staff should allow senior level personnel to increase their productivity, generating more deals, income and activity.”
  • “Less experienced people make big and small mistakes that cost the company more to clean up than the difference in salaries.”
  • “I continue to see a wide swath of job seekers who have far more experience than the position requires aggressively pursue mid-level positions.”

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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