It has been almost 10 years since the SelectLeaders Job Barometer witnessed the high water mark in commercial real estate (CRE) job postings during spring 2007, but hiring activity in 2015 and 2016 has approached those record levels. This is according to the SelectLeaders Job Barometer, published since 2006 as the foremost survey of employment opportunities, trends and hiring practices in the commercial real estate industry.
Applications to commercial real estate openings beginning in 2015 have fallen dramatically to lows last seen in – you guessed it – 2007. The demand-supply gap in commercial real estate signals good news for job seekers and an increasingly heated battle for talent for commercial real estate employers.
“Labor supply to commercial real estate, because of its complexity and opacity to those outside the industry, is relatively inelastic, and many of those displaced from commercial real estate starting in 2008 have either found their way back in or permanently left the industry,” said Dr. David Funk, managing editor for the SelectLeaders Job Barometer, adding, “the reality is a finite part of the workforce is pursuing a career in commercial real estate at any given time and the industry’s bench depth now mirrors that prior to the global financial crisis.”
From 2008 through 2014, the growth in applications from job seekers significantly outpaced CRE job opportunities, resulting in a strong employers market. Today commercial real estate has arguably returned to a job seekers market with applicant-to-job ratios returning to the relative optimistic odds job seekers last experienced prior to the global financial crisis.
At the peak of November 2012, a commercial real estate job opportunity averaged over 200 applicants compared to just 30 applicants in 2007. Today employers are averaging 49 applicants for each posting. There has been a surge in companies seeking technology and software skillsets across all job functions but a shortage of applicants possessing those specialized skillsets. For those applicants with strong technology and analytical expertise, though, these skills have catapulted them along the commercial real estate career track. Tech-savvy analysts are increasingly rotated through asset and portfolio management, acquisition and development, gaining experience far beyond their years.
So who is hiring, and where are the jobs? See part two of this special jobs report in an upcoming Market Share blog post.
Susan M. Phillips is the CEO of SelectLeaders, LLC, which powers the career centers for 12 premier real estate industry associations (whose members control or direct 90 percent of commercial real estate) and offers unequalled access to the real estate community.