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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.

2013 Real Estate Hiring Trends Survey Results


In 2012, we are happy to report that compensation increased for 42% of you.


Perception often leads to reality. So in late December, SelectLeaders Network conducts our industry-wide annual survey of how the collective wisdom views the year ahead. Again a rich mix of about 900 real estate professionals and employers – principals, top-line managers and HR executives – delivered some very interesting insights and perspectives on 2013.

In 2009 we reported that 85% of employees were asked to take on additional responsibilities for the same pay. Many wrote that they had taken on the responsibilities that 3 people had in early 2008. In 2012, we are happy to report that compensation increased for 42% of you. And for 2013, 56% anticipate an increase in total compensation (salary and bonus). While many expect to have more money in 2013, the workload did not appear to significantly diminish. In 2012, 37% of companies reported hiring remained the same as 2011. 35% of companies saw an increase in hiring. Our survey has indicated a steady, but slow, rise in hiring beginning in 2010, and increasing to about 30% for the last two years. However, 28% report that hiring decreased for their company in 2012.

“Putting too much work on people who are already overloaded” as well as Age-Discrimination – with everyone stating that the other ages were landing the JOBS – were perceptions shared by many. Rumors that college students are abandoning real estate programs appear to be unfounded with 70% having no problem hiring recent real estate graduates. In 2012 we also heard a lot about “Succession Planning”. But when queried, 42% reported that since 2009 the most senior level manager hired came from outside the company. Only 23% of senior managers hired came up through the ranks. A senior HR Executive shared this perspective, “Senior Manager hiring from outside is well reported. Question: is this positive absorption, or are just as many leaving? Leaving is not well reported.”

While pointing out all the problems, most felt that things got a little better in 2012. As far as 2013, one respondent advised, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.”

Compared to last year, in 2012 did your base salary:

In 2013, do you expect your total compensation (salary+bonus) to:

Did you receive a bonus in 2011?

It has been reported that students are not choosing careers in Real Estate. Has your company had difficulty finding entry-level candidates?

Do you expect a bonus in 2012?

Compared to the previous year, in 2012 did your company’s hiring:

In 2013, do you expect your company’s hiring to:

Thinking back to the most Senior level Managerial position that the Company filled since 2009…

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

With a rich mix of 877 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:

  • 2013 Economy:
    • Very uncertain about the general economy disproportionately affecting small businesses negatively.
    • Political landscape has me worried that the US economy will end up like California…a democratic hybrid model. Scary
    • Having taken a 25% cut in compensation, I’m very skittish about the new year. Simply want to be able to provide for my family, and it’s getting harder every day.
    • 87 million who are either employed or receive income from the Government are supported by 109 million that actually work in the private sector. This is a model for failure.
    • With interest rates at historical lows and an influx of foreign investors, and the fact that I’m going to pursue a niche market in the real estate field in 2013, I expect a great future in the real estate industry.
    • The residential markets are poised for continued growth assuming that no negative intervention occurs in the market by poor government decision making e.g. fiscal cliff, tax increases, etc.
    • 2013 federal tax increases will have a chilling effect on commercial real estate market. Fewer new and or expanding space/development requirements are planned by developers.
    • It will all depend upon what new tax issues will pop up to hinder or help investors and owners in the coming year. Since we as real estate people rely on other industries to rent, buy and invest, it is a pretty large issue at this point.
  • Our Industry:
    • Focus on ethics will be important.
    • Focus on Canada. After all, we are larger, wealthier and more stable than California and you do focus there.
    • Given uncertainty in the tax regime, LIHTC investors are standing on the sidelines. Investment capital may be insufficient to buy all of the tax credits generated in 2013.
    • I am the Global Head of Corporate Services for a finance industry company. With a shrinking portfolio, it has caused me to seek additional areas of responsibility to make sure my staff is able to not only keep engaged but grow beyond their current levels and focus so that they as well as I have additional experience and skill sets for an uncertain future.
    • I am in corporate real estate, and do not have “entry” level positions in real estate, which may be one of the challenges of the field.
    • The blurring of lines between sectors will intensify “… our mission statements must effectively reflect the current needs of todays’ market … which may include branching out into other closely related fields”.
    • My firm specializes in affordable housing; historically this has been fueled by government programs. In order for this industry to survive in the future, there will need to be stronger private sector involvement.
    • Regional banks are growing… providing more traditional CRE financial products (conservative construction loans, recourse bridge loans, perms). They are very “relationship oriented.
    • Prospects are out there, but execution of projects being planned continues to be delayed or canceled.
    • REITS continue to push current employees to do more with less while they continue to purchase new assets without matching the growth needed in the office to manage the portfolio.
    • Given uncertainty in the tax regime, LIHTC investors are standing on the sidelines. Investment capital may be insufficient to buy all of the tax credits generated in 2013.
    • The Government competitive bid process and prevailing wage rates of government work does not contribute to profitability. We are forecasting the same for 2013 and do not expect private sector work to flow into the market until the first quarter of 2014.
  • 2013 Hiring:
    • Commercial real estate is still very much a business of relationships and knowing people. Even with all of our technology this has not changed.
    • Continuing to feel optimistic but remaining cautious with respect to increasing head count levels. Most of my hiring will be driven by the desire to upgrade the talent versus adding incremental positions
    • I’m hopeful that hard-fought positions among the few young professionals will pay dividends as we move into a growth cycle and companies continue to promote from within and reward those that have gained experience through the massive downturn.
    • While business is growing, our hiring will not due to cost increases associated with the health care mandates.
    • The opportunities are not there. If or when opportunities increase, I expect to see a mass exodus.
    • Finding people who can communicate (both written and orally) is a key challenge for us at all levels.
    • Employers are being too specific with hiring qualifications requirements and relying on software to vet applicants. This practice is bypassing otherwise qualified and capable candidates. There will continue to be unemployed professionals looking for the unfilled jobs as long as this practice persists, as well as employers claiming the applicant pool is unqualified.
    • We are hiring two entry level analysts, and are finding well-qualified students eager to accept positions paying salaries between $42,000 and $55,000 depending upon education.
    • While it takes longer to fill roles, the successful candidates are usually very well suited for the role and the company, which means they are much more likely to stay and spend a greater amount of time developing their careers with us. I have also noticed quite a few more turn down of offers – which used to be very rare which also shows that candidates are equally selective of the companies they join.
    • In Metro DC, the economy continues to improve. There is a lot of movement in entry level and other junior positions.
    • In Los Angeles, real estate management companies are still making cuts and expecting each manager to do more. Entry level persons are not interested in the rigorous work and long hours that are demanded. Though opportunities are few, the scene is more hopeful to seasoned managers at this time.
    • In Chicago, there appears to be some movement on both new construction and renovation.
  • Age Discrimination:
    • My peers and I are regularly passed over for more experienced professionals changing jobs or re-entering the industry from unemployment. There are plenty of experienced, long term unemployed to make bright eyed, recent grads look like a babysitting chore.
    • There will continue to be a lack of opportunity for mid-level professionals and executives due to the cost-benefit of hiring from a robust and anxious pool of recent graduates who can be trained.
    • I’m starting to hear about more opportunities for senior level finance leaders in real estate.
    • People w/ 20 yrs. experience are taking the jobs that require 10 yrs. of experience and there are no jobs for someone just out of MBA or Master of Real Estate programs anymore. Job hunt is nasty, brutal and tough.
    • At some very well-known firms they have barbell strategies – Either Hire someone really senior (to justify their pay) or an analyst out of college (they are cheap) who HAS TO leave after 2 years. Where does that leave people in the 25-40 range
    • There seems to be little appreciation for senior level talent with highly diverse experience. Employers are interested in younger personnel with 5-8 years of recent experience
    • Only recently have I seen a slight pick-up in the jobs being posted for those with 10+ years of experience.
    • At age 62, I cannot help but believe that age discrimination has something to do with the length of my unemployment…

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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