NEWPORT BEACH, CA—Commercial real estate hiring experienced a major surge in the first six months of the year, and Irvine-based CRE recruiting firm RETS Associates sees no sign of it stopping. The firm has surpassed all previous hiring records in the first half as compared to any other time in its 13-year history, seeing a 248% increase in Q1 job searches and placements in the past three years despite Q1 typically being the slowest time for real estate. Contrary to 2013, the firm says companies are more confident in the real estate market and are filling more permanent positions rather than interim positions. GlobeSt.com spoke with RETS principal Kent Elliott to discuss the hiring surge, what’s behind it and where he sees it leading.
GlobeSt.com: To what do you attribute the increase in Q1 job searches and placements during what is typically one of the least active times for real estate?
Elliott: Our whole world has changed so dramatically in the last three years. If you go back to 2010, the whole level of confidence is so dramatically different. Companies are hiring, growing, upgrading talent and filling positions that had been dormant. The overall confidence level in the real estate community is so much higher than it was three to four years ago, and as a result there’s so much capital out there, and companies have to hire people to manage that.
GlobeSt.com: What else leads you to believe that companies are more confident in the real estate market now?
Elliott: If you just look at compensation, it’s clear. Company profits are there, people are making more money, and they’re bringing on people they wouldn’t have brought on years ago.
GlobeSt.com: What can we expect to see in CRE hiring next year based on these findings?
Elliott: What’s interesting is that there has just been no summer slowdown at all. August is usually a slower month, and August has just been crazy. We’ve had more positions coming in the door that need to be filled, and we’ve needed to add more recruiters. Looking ahead into 2015, I don’t see anything changing over the next 12 months. There are times when hiring is slower than other time periods, and as we get to the fourth quarter and the holidays, there’s a short-term blip that happens, but hiring should be tremendously strong over the next 12 months.
GlobeSt.com: In what sub-sectors of the industry do you see opportunities for those seeking employment?
Elliott: Every area except the mid- to senior-level acquisitions area, from accounting to asset management to construction, including finance, development, leasing, property management—all are on fire and hiring. The only one we don’t see with the same amount of proportionate hiring is the mid- to senior-level position. And if you’re talking about asset class, every asset class is hiring, whether it’s office, industrial, retail, multifamily, single-family residential—this is a sophisticated space that has blown up over the last few years, even the homebuilding side.