As published in Property Week on 27 July 2022

A recent LinkedIn poll by Property Week on behalf of international real estate consultant Hollis revealed the main barriers to attracting future talent into the real estate industry.

Almost half (41%) of respondents specified a lack of industry awareness as the main obstacle preventing them from looking for a future role within property.

Over a quarter (27%) identified a lack of skills and relevant training holding them back, while a further 22% of responses highlighted the concerning lack of diversity – an accusation that has long been levelled at the property industry.

The remaining 10% of those surveyed stated that a lack of industry collaboration would hold them back from choosing real estate as a career path. This points to a lack of general awareness of real estate as a profession as a whole, and is an area that needs to be improved if the industry is to attract a larger, younger and more diverse workforce.

The poll results bring into the focus the challenges the sector faces in closing the skills gap and attracting new talent to the industry. The drive over the last 20 years or so for more young people to go to university, therefore bypassing early entry routes, may have contributed to this – or perhaps there are just simply not enough training places/apprenticeships for prospective recruits available.

Some firms, such as Hollis are taking steps in tackling the problem at a grass-roots level, by ramping up their graduate and early careers programmes. Hollis for example offers a number of early careers opportunities – from a Level 6 apprenticeship scheme with The University College of Estate Management (UCEM), which has doubled in size over the past year, to a graduate offering and newly established work placement programme. In a competitive market, ‘growing your own’ talent becomes imperative, and firms should be looking at how they can invest in suitable training to provide exciting career development opportunities.

Diversity, or rather the lack of, is a hot topic within real estate. By providing women with the opportunities to get into the sector within stereotypically male-dominated career paths, such as engineering or surveying, is another way of preventing talent from overlooking the sector. Hollis are committing to a number of initiatives to encourage social mobility to aim to increase diversity and give opportunities to those from less advantaged backgrounds. Through education partnerships with institutions such as Pathways to Property, RICS Inspire Future Surveyors and Urban Plan UK, Hollis are participating in funding and volunteering projects to educate and inspire those beginning careers in property.

Overall, it is apparent that in the face of a challenging and competitive market, employers within the property industry need to evolve their offering to continue to grow. Otherwise, potential future stars will vote with their feet and simply go elsewhere.