DALLAS—With baby boomers retiring and CRE professionals leaving during the last downturn, there are fewer people in the industry and it has created an environment that is feverishly searching for key players. Kent Elliott at RETS Associates recently discussed this issue with and how it has resulted in firms acting more quickly to hire top talent. How is hiring for real estate different than other industries, if at all?

Kent Elliott


Kent Elliott: Our focus is real estate and we can only speak to trends in this industry. The national unemployment rate is about 5%, and in turn, the unemployment rate in real estate is about half of that. Based on this, it’s clear that hiring in real estate is aggressive.

Overall, there are fewer people in the industry than there used to be and it has created an environment that is strained for talent. This has amplified the war on talent because many firms have boosted hiring in the last five years during this positive cycle. A smaller number of people in the industry, paired with more job opportunities, has compounded in the recent years to create this great shortage of top talent. Given the competitive hiring market in commercial real estate, RETS has been advising firms to move quickly in recruiting and hiring efforts. Can you quantify “quick hiring”?

Elliott: It is a candidate’s market right now. There is a very shallow pool of top talent across the nation and we are advising all companies to keep a choice candidate engaged in the process. Gone are the days of having the luxury to leave one-to-two week gaps between touch points. If a hiring manager doesn’t keep the process moving, they double the risk of losing that candidate to a competitive firm. In our experience, creating touch points every 24 to 48 hours is the ideal time frame to move a candidate through the rounds of the interview and hiring process. What are the consequences that some firms are experiencing if they don’t follow this advice? Can you give examples?

Elliott: As I mentioned before, if a firm does not move quickly, it doubles the chances of losing a choice candidate. Additionally, creating large gaps in the process wastes both the candidate’s and company’s time. This time is valuable, especially in the current active market and can create a lost opportunity/cost in the work that is not being performed because a candidate hasn’t been hired yet. What are firms doing to prove they value their candidates/compete with other firms in the market? Can you give examples?

Elliott: Savvy companies are making upfront investments to prove the value of long‑term relationships with potential new hires. Companies are not only being efficient, but considerate of the candidate’s time. For example, instead of scheduling interviews for a candidate with three different people on different days, those interviews are scheduled back‑to-back. This demonstrates care and consideration for a candidate.

Additionally, competitive firms are taking the time to get to know the candidate on both a business and professional level. If a candidate is located outside of a firm’s local market, which is common in the current state of the market, the firm will fly top candidates in for additional interviews to build stronger relationships.

This is new standard for the cost of doing business, and all competitive firms are making the investment. In our experience, this is what is required to not only secure top talent, but ensure that the candidate is the right fit for the firm. What else is relevant about the current hiring market in Dallas?

Elliott: Business is booming in first-tier markets, including Dallas. We have seen competitive salaries grow by $30,000 to $40,000 and compensation packages have increased an average of 15 to 25% nationwide during the past three years–more competitive markets such as San Francisco have experienced as high as a 40% increase in compensation packages. These trends indicate a good sign for the health of the whole industry and we expect hiring to continue at the same pace as it has for the last 24 months.