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Commercial real estate hiring is back in a big way, according to RETS Associates principal Kent Elliott (second from the right). While the industry struggled during the credit crisis and the Great Recession, current market conditions make talent a precious commodity. The 20-year veteran of recruiting and real estate called the current labor situation an employee’s market.

demand for talent

Significant levels of hiring are building back capacity lost during the last contraction and adding capacity as the industry prepares for further growth. The demand is broad-based and includes acquisitions positions, Kent says. At the same time, unemployment rates in the sector are “negligible.”


The East Bay market stood out to the recruiter in particular. The big draw besides job opportunities? “It’s closer to home and less congested.”


The job market has definitely tilted towards the worker, he adds. “Top talent is in such high demand right now that if there is anything a top-performing employee feels like is less than ideal in a position/company (e.g., compensation, location, management style, culture, title, etc.), there is a high probability that there is a position available that addresses the situation.”


Companies are in a war to secure top talent and are bidding up benefit and compensation packages. Kent notes total compensation has increased approximately 30% in the past two to three years. This bullish assessment is similar to the one he made previously to Bisnow.


Strong demand for talent through recruitment channels comes while many Bay Area builders have anticipated a slowdown in the region’s real estate market. If companies are hiring despite the uncertainty, Kent says, it could suggest builders and developers across the region are willing to “bank” talent in the face of any potential contraction.


He isn’t worried about a recession. “We have not seen any type of slowdown in commercial real estate, nor do we anticipate seeing any through the rest of 2016.”