A decade after the real estate hiring peak of 2007, commercial real estate jobs have returned to their previous pace, fueled by small companies and secondary markets increasingly searching for real estate talent. Real estate companies posting single job opportunities – indicative of smaller, more entrepreneurial firms – constituted the majority of postings for the first time ever, according to our SelectLeaders Job Barometer, which assesses the U.S. job market in commercial real estate.
“Over the last five years (real estate) opportunities have been driven by the larger companies based in gateway and first-tier cities doing bulk hiring,” said David Funk, managing editor for the SelectLeaders Job Barometer, noting, “but over recent months we’ve seen a significant uptick in small companies based in second- and third-tier markets looking to hire single, multitalented individuals.”
Small business hiring has been an emerging story in the overall economy. In commercial real estate, the story is as much about where the hiring is taking place. Highly competitive pricing in first-tier cities and the ensuing search for value has resulted in second- and third-tier markets now experiencing momentum, and the hiring is taking place in small companies.
By one estimate, 80 percent of all real estate companies are 15 people or fewer, and we are now seeing that segment more aggressively hiring. The big real estate firms continue to get bigger along with growth at the small, entrepreneurial level while the midsized companies are continuing to be squeezed. Commercial real estate job postings overall have jumped up during the first quarter of 2017 but still lag behind the spring hiring season in 2015 and 2016.
California and New York remain the top magnets seeking real estate talent, with both states posting a higher percentage of overall jobs than a decade ago. Texas, meanwhile, moved from the fifth- to the third-best state for commercial real estate job opportunities while Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., saw real estate jobs decline over the same period.
While job opportunities have increased in the Sunbelt and coasts over the past decade, hiring by real estate job fields has remained rather consistent. Opportunities in development and acquisitions are down from 2007, while certain fields that did not even register in 2007 – real estate technology – constitute significant opportunities in 2017.
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.