“CRE hiring has remained strong and steady even during the pandemic and amid stay-at-home mandates,” Kent Elliott, principal of RETS Associates, tells GlobeSt.com. “This may be surprising, however many companies have reasoned that because the economic downturn was sudden and created by a temporary driver, once lockdowns have been lifted the industry will begin to recover dramatically and benefit from pent-up demand.”

RETS Associates, which specializes in multifamily staffing, has actually seen an increase in requests to recruit professionals since the onset of the pandemic. “A large number of firms have been actively reaching out to potential candidates and conducting interviews over the last few months,” says Elliott. “These companies want to be ready to proceed with hiring as soon as possible so they can leverage this demand and be poised for growth in the upcoming recovery.”

Managers are in high demand at the moment, particularly as many properties need extra care an attention to implement health and safety guidance, but Elliott also recommends multifamily owners recruit experienced acquisition specialists. “Multifamily owners should be focused on hiring experienced acquisitions specialists who can identify quality distressed properties that will perform well,” he says. “While the natural inclination in the current environment is to not hire due to COVID-19 concerns, we are actually pushing our clients to hire so that they don’t lose interest from top-talent.”

In recruiting talent, Elliott recommends looking for professionals that can handle the market challenges. “It’s also important now and always to hire good people who know how to meet challenges with innovative solutions, relate to residents, and ease their concerns about safety,” he says. “In the multifamily sector, ‘your people are your business.’ Employers should look for candidates who have demonstrated high integrity in order to position their company for the best possible outcome.”

While the pandemic catalyzed this hiring activity, it is not a short-term trend. In fact, it is going to remain a theme through the recovery. “There will be an ongoing need for strong property management teams and acquisitions teams now and well into the future,” says Elliott. “This would be the case whether or not we are recovering from a pandemic. Property managers are critical to the successful operation of any asset, but especially multifamily, which is a “high-touch” asset. In addition, powerful acquisitions teams will continue to be needed for multifamily investors seeking to invest in a perennially stable asset class with historically robust ROI.”