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RETS Associates’ Fourth Annual Survey of Real Estate Financial Analysts Reveals Key Compensation Drivers

By October 21, 2015Press Releases

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – October 22, 2015 – RETS Associates, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, announced the findings of its 4th Annual Survey of Real Estate Financial Analysts in association with Charles Schilke, Director Emeritus of the Real Estate Programs at both Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University. More than 340 financial analysts with entry-level to senior‑management experience from across the nation were polled on their salary, education, willingness to relocate and more.

Higher Education, Proficiency in Real Estate Software and Geographic Location Significantly Impact Base Salaries

The survey revealed interesting trending for base-salary levels, primarily that a recipient of a master’s degree can earn between 5.6 and 9.5 percent higher compensation than a professional with a bachelor’s degree. Survey results indicated that higher education, proficiency in real estate software programs such as Argus and waterfall analysis in Excel, and geographic locations significantly impact base salaries.

According to Kent Elliott, principal of RETS Associates, due to the experiential nature of real estate, while earning a master’s does not impact compensation early in one’s career, it does make a difference over a long period of time.

Survey results demonstrated a clear advantageous difference for those professionals who are proficient in software programs such as Argus and waterfall analysis. Depending on the level of mastery (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced and guru), a professional can earn a 4.4-percent premium on his or her salary for each level.

The premium difference for a respondent who is a beginner in Argus versus a “guru” would be 13.2 percent. Furthermore, analysts who are proficient using waterfall analysis are expected to receive an 8.1 percent higher salary with each additional skill level.

Location also proved to influence base salaries, with regional variations across the nation.  San Francisco reported the highest base salaries in the nation, with respondents reporting a 19.1 percent premium over the national salary average. Respondents from the Northeast and Los Angeles followed, with a 19 percent and 16.8 percent premium, respectively, over the national average.

Regarding preferred work geographies, survey results indicated that 75 percent of respondents were open to relocating for a job. Respondents reported that Los Angeles is the top destination for relocation for financial analysts.

“It continues to be a hot market for financial analysts. Survey data indicates that 75 percent of respondents with a master’s have actively pursued a job in the past year,” said Elliott. “The majority of individuals with a Master’s in Real Estate Development have gone on a minimum of three interviews in the past year.”

According to Elliott, compensation package is still the primary driver in job offer consideration, followed by growth potential then geographic location of the job. Interestingly, brand name of the firm was the fourth most important factor in job offer consideration. In the past year, RETS has seen a 29-percent increase in the number of financial-analyst searches that it has handled as compared to 2013-2014.

About RETS Associates:

Founded in 2002, RETS Associates is a premier executive search firm specializing in the recruitment, staffing and placement of interim, permanent and executive positions in the commercial real estate industry. RETS Associates’ clients include REITs, developers, investors, pension fund advisors, operating companies and real estate services firms doing business in property management, development, construction, investments and financial analysis.  For more information on RETS Associates, please visit


financial analyst survey