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NAIOP Skills Survey: Preferred Degree Programs and Credentials

This post discusses findings from the NAIOP Skills Survey on respondent perceptions of different academic degree programs and non-degree credentials and includes additional information about the NAIOP members that participated in the survey.

To assess how real estate and development degree programs are perceived in comparison to others, respondents who self-identified as holding management positions were asked to evaluate how they would view hypothetical job applicants with different academic credentials. When asked about undergraduate degrees as a credential for early-career applicants, managers had almost equally favorable views of bachelor’s degrees in real estate, development or construction management on the one hand (93.5% somewhat or very favorable) and bachelor’s degrees in business administration, finance or a related field on the other (91.1%), followed by bachelor’s degrees in architecture or engineering (78.1%). More respondents indicated they would have a somewhat or very favorable view of an associate degree in a field related to real estate (48.5%) than a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated discipline (18.3%). The pattern was essentially the same when managers were asked how favorably they would view mid-career candidates with master’s degrees in different fields. In open-ended comments, a few respondents indicated they would make further distinctions among less closely related disciplines, such as between other STEM fields and non-STEM programs.

All respondents were asked about the relative value of several non-degree credentials, such as professional certifications or a real estate license. The results suggest that most respondents believe these types of credentials hold only limited value within development-related professions. The three credentials most frequently identified as valuable or very valuable were a real estate license (35.1%), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA, 34.2%), and Certified Construction Manager (CCM, 32.2%). However, the percentage of respondents identifying a CFA or CCM as valuable or very valuable barely exceeded the percentage that identified them as of limited or no value, and the opposite was true of a real estate license. Respondents were more likely to indicate that the other credentials were of limited or no value than valuable or very valuable. In open-ended comments, a few respondents suggested limited experience with individuals who had these non-degree credentials.

More Research on Talent Development Forthcoming

The information from this survey will inform a NAIOP Research Foundation project on talent development in commercial real estate. The project will also draw from existing studies and interviews with commercial real estate professionals. The resulting report will be published in 2024.

Survey Respondent Profile

Read part one of this series: “NAIOP Survey Provides Insight into Skills Most Important to CRE Development.”

Shawn Moura

Shawn Moura, Ph.D.

As NAIOP Research Director, Shawn Moura manages the NAIOP Research Foundation research committee and day-to-day operations of the Foundation’s research projects.

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