EXCLUSIVE Q&A: RETS’ Berkeley Davis On Finding Talent

Bisnow, Seattle

by Dees Stribling

One side effect of Seattle’s boom is that it’s tougher for real estate companies to find the talent they need to grow. We chatted recently with RETS Associates’ Seattle managing director Berkeley Davis, who specializes in recruitment in the industry, about the struggle for real estate talent in Seattle.

Berekely Davis 6.9.16 Bisnow

Berkeley’s shown with principal Kent Elliott in front of the Space Needle.

Bisnow: Are Seattle real estate companies still eager for more talent?

Berkeley Davis: You can drive around the city and see a number of cranes in the sky, and that activity directly translates to hiring. So far in 2016, we’ve been working with real estate companies in Seattle on a wide array of positions, including financial analysts, development and construction managers, directors of leasing and asset management, and more—it’s really the entire spectrum. Right now, we have three open positions: a senior development manager, director of leasing and director of operations.

 Bisnow: Is market activity the only reason it’s tough to find talent?

Berkeley Davis: No. The pool of candidates is much smaller than in, say, the major markets in California, because Seattle’s a more conservative market, where employees carry long tenures. Even so, companies are eager to find that talent. In the first five months of this year, compared to the same period last year, we’ve already surpassed our number of searches. I anticipate our total searches by the end of 2016 will be higher than in 2015. That’s because we’re working with optimistic firms who want to grow their footprints and projects in Seattle.

Bisnow: Are employers upping their offerings?

Berkeley Davis: They are. We’re currently working with clients that are offering great opportunities—in the form of complete benefits and compensation packages—which is really appealing to candidates. In fact, base salaries have increased about 15% in the last year or so, and we believe this will continue to rise.