Lucy Winberg, Director, Winberg Associates Property Recruitment evaluates the current and future state of affairs in property recruitment.
Well, what a year 2016 was. The results of Brexit and the US election surprised almost all of us, which just goes to show that nothing in life is certain. Of course it’s no surprise to learn that this uncertainty has affected the UK and European property market, although nowhere near as much as some were forecasting.
A variety of different funds and investors continue to be very positive about the real estate landscape in the UK and Europe. The “wait-and-see” approach that many investors took in the the first half of the year has passed, and recovery from the shock of Brexit has been steady and shows further signs of recovery. Alongside this, recruitment in the property sector has also maintained its momentum, with a number of trends for 2017 becoming apparent.
Adding genuine value
One continuing trend is the demand for candidates who can add value to real estate firms. It is well known that propcos, REITs, funds, private equity firms and institutions are continually looking to increase the value of investors’ portfolios. The consultancies that service these clients are working in an increasingly competitive market. So, in order to deliver on ambitious business plans, both client-side firms and consultancies require high calibre candidates who can add value through proven business development and value-add skills, as well as offering traditional surveying expertise.
Calling all analysts
In 2017, investors will be obliged to undertake detailed due diligence on acquisitions in the light of potential events relating to Brexit. Already we have seen many of our clients bolster their transactions teams, looking for candidates with strong analytical skills, to prepare for the extra workload. Candidates with strong cashflow and modelling skills continue to be the most in-demand.
Traditional growth areas, such as retail, PRS, affordable housing, healthcare, leisure and student accommodation will stay buoyant. Here, we expect property companies to be on the look out for strong development, asset and investment managers, as well as analysts with sector-specific expertise.
The Brexit effect is yet to come
Research suggests that whilst the global economic outlook has improved Brexit may still have the last laugh – with the potential to stifle growth in the EU property market in 2017. A weaker currency and higher inflation may well become factors. And who knows what will happen when Article 50 is triggered later in the year? If we leave the single market there may be some migration of the candidate pool, although we see this as being more long term – maybe hitting the recruitment market in four years time or so.
Always a silver lining
We also see plenty of positives for the year ahead. A depreciating pound is making UK property increasingly attractive to overseas investment. The continued housing shortage is providing major opportunities for private and public sector partnerships, leading to increased demand for candidates with experience in these sectors.
In particular, we expect to see increased opportunities for residential development, investment, finance and valuation surveyors at all levels in 2017. This is a result of exponential growth in the residential sector and investment pouring into the many new residential developments being executed across the UK.
Foreign capital is likely to continue its impact on the UK property market, right across the risk spectrum. Many Asian investors and sovereign wealth funds will continue to invest in core, trophy assets in London, while opportunistic US investors will look to acquire secondary assets and portfolios in the national market. Additionally, Pan-European funds and private equity firms who have bases in London will look to continue to invest in European real estate. For these clients, often the most attractive candidates are not only highly numerate, but fluent in at least one European language; the current demand is particularly for German, Eastern European and Italian speakers.
Remaining positive about the market
Cautious optimism will be the watchwords for the foreseeable future. We’re waiting with somewhat bated breath to see what effect the new US administration, EU elections and wider global considerations will have on UK property. However, as things stand, we are in an active market buzzing with recruitment activity and are excited to be working with numerous clients who have major expansion plans for 2017.
If you are looking for a new role, or just exploring options, we can provide advice and help you secure your next move. Similarly, if you are looking to fill a role we can find permanent staff for you through contingent or retained search. We work with candidates across all levels from Graduate up to Director. We can also help with salary and benchmarking surveys to support your business planning, personnel appraisals and pay reviews.
Call 0207 993 8303 or email email@example.com for further information or to have an informal, confidential discussion on career options.