Business activity is strong across Australia’s property market and organisations are adding headcount, with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way. Many of these roles are permanent, which contrasts to the contract focus of the previous 18 months.
Given activity, candidate levels have decreased and skilled property candidates are in short supply. This situation is not aided by the number of property professionals who continue to leave the industry due to the intense nature of the work environment and the salaries on offer. With candidate availability low, employers will consider interstate candidates when a local candidate cannot be sourced.
When they recruit, employers look for strong technical and communication skills, as well as Excel skills since they want candidates who can put documentation together as well as liaise with their clients. They do not want to train candidates, and therefore direct experience is necessary if a candidate is to be successful.
The hiring process has become more thorough with more employers using sophisticated testing suites. This has led to some roles remaining unfilled for months while these processes take place.
In an interesting trend, part-time property management roles are on offer in agencies with smaller rent rolls of less than 100 properties.
In the public sector, stakeholder management skills, the ability to communicate at all levels, and commercial and business acumen are sought.
Skills in demand
In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Property Managers in residential and commercial. The residential market is very active in many states, with high-rise residential property management skills particularly sought after in Brisbane and Melbourne. Candidates with commercial management skills are also sought. However there is a shortage of candidates with experience.
In Adelaide, Darwin and Perth, real estate agencies are focused on growing their rent roll as detached dwelling sales are not as strong as in other states. This is driving up demand further for Residential Property Managers. However salaries are lower than for other real estate roles and this makes candidates harder to attract and retain.
Assistant Residential Property Managers are needed too. Some real estate agencies prefer a shared portfolio structure, where they have one senior property manager and two assistants managing over 300 properties, compared to one property manager per 100 properties.
Business Development Managers are also required in residential leasing. In line with the growth of rent rolls, we are seeing demand for candidates who can focus solely on building an agency’s property portfolios.
Off-plan Investment Sales Consultants are sought. With foreign investment driving this activity, and an unprecedented level of higher density developments either planned or underway, these sales professionals are in high demand. Candidates with additional language skills are viewed highly.
Residential Sales Representatives are also in demand in our active property market. However commission only pay structures are not enticing strong candidates with solid existing pipelines.
Strata Managers are needed, due to the increase in strata titled development in the nation’s capitals while Client Side Project Managers are in demand as many companies take advantage of reduced commercial rents and realise opportunities to relocate in the CBD.
Asset Managers are sought too. Increased spending through real estate investment trusts has seen an upturn in acquisitions and as a result many clients require Asset Managers. A focus has been on candidates who have an innovative approach and will deal with issues onsite rather than staying behind a desk.
In addition, in the public sector immediately available Property Officers with government experience are sought for temporary assignments, usually of between three and six months.
In terms of candidate trends, jobseekers are looking for a permanent role for job security and longevity reasons. A lot of candidates have moved from short project to short project and are now looking to work on larger projects with a two or three year lifecycle.
They are also looking to work for an employer who values their skills, their role and who can offer them career growth opportunities.
In other trends, networking events such as those hosted by the Property Council are attracting more interest as candidates realise the benefits that a large network can bring them.
Finally, there are more candidates who are qualified, either licensed or certified through the Real Estate Institute, but who lack experience and are attempting to break into the industry.