Commercial Real Estate Jobs Evolving

Commercial real estate hiring remains healthy and steady, but the composition of CRE jobs is evolving, reported SelectLeaders, New York.

The real estate job network said commercial real estate job postings have exceeded the long-term average for five consecutive years, reinforcing an employer sentiment of cautious optimism in the commercial real estate market.

The number of commercial real estate jobs available peaked in first-quarter 2015 and outpaced the growth in overall jobs, but over the past two years CRE job openings have lagged slightly behind U.S. job growth.

Jobs that tend to wane when commercial real estate heads into a correction including acquisitions and development roles remain “vital” areas of hiring activity with 9 percent and 8 percent of all job postings, respectively, said SelectLeaders Job Barometer Managing Editor David Funk. “The hiring in development and acquisitions is remarkable given how long we’ve been at this stage in the cycle,” he said. “Jobs in finance and investment continue as the most common opportunities followed by portfolio, asset and property management jobs.”

Commercial real estate job titles and expectations are changing, SelectLeaders said. Property technology innovation is restructuring jobs to include the ability to implement technology into fields from asset and property management to investment management and development. For example, the job title Occupancy Planner recently debuted. The position requires experience using InSite software for workplace planning, relocation and build-out as well as 3D modeling software to allow users to visualize and customize space layouts. “This job in the past might have called for an architect or interior designer, but now due to proptech enhancements someone with technology aptitude and agility can fill the position,” SelectLeaders CEO Susan Phillips said.

The changing nature of real estate jobs is only beginning, SelectLeaders noted. “Whether it is JLL’s creation of a $100 million-dollar fund for investment in prop tech companies, or Blackstone, Brookfield and others investing in real estate-related technology companies, a total of $12.6 billion poured into real estate technology companies in 2017,” the report said.

While real estate technology jobs currently make up only 2 percent of job tracked by SelectLeaders, that number has doubled in the last three years. One new real estate technology job opening is for a Commercial Real Estate Blockchain specialist to create, manage and trade fractional interests in real estate–until recently unchartered territory for hiring. “Real estate experience is not the dealbreaker in landing real estate technology jobs,” Phillips said. “Proven experience with a variety of real estate software is the best way to demonstrate the agility to move into this space.”

Phillips predicted technology will open the commercial real estate sector to talent from other industries, “but it will also increase the need for career development training to enhance people skills and emotional intelligence, because this is what the new software will be missing,” she said.

Challenges in hiring are not limited to real estate technology jobs, Funk said. “Overall U.S. unemployment stands at 3.7 percent, while commercial real estate is nearing a decade of positive hiring,” he said. “With new entrants to the industry relatively static the talent pool is getting strained. The supply of professionals to the real estate industry is relatively inelastic.”

The result: real estate job seekers today are the most selective since the Job Barometer began tracking candidates’ behavior in 2006. “2006-2007 was the last time we witnessed a similar level of reluctance to apply to an opportunity, but back then employers started to offer equity to lower and lower levels of applicants to seal the deal,” Phillips said. “This economy is different and employers are not that quick to compromise. They seem reluctant to hire relocations, and often take a longer and longer time to hire.”