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Total talent: An update on the hiring market across Real Estate by Andrew Deverell-Smith

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Back in February, I predicted three emerging trends which would become prominent throughout 2022:

  • Flexibility

  • Wage inflation

  • Increased volume of job movement

Three months on, and I’m eager to share an update on each trend as well as additional requisites that enable your business to thrive.


Flexibility – working from home and beyond

According to a survey carried out by the University of Nottingham and Stanford University, only 21% of people said they’d ‘rarely or never’ want to work from home, while 48% of people would prefer to work most of the week from home (3+ days). With a total of 79% wanting at least 1 day from home.

These statistics echo the points in my previous update where I reported the top reasons for job satisfaction were flexible working and working relationships.

“Does the business offer flexible working?” is the number 1 question we receive from candidates when engaging regarding an opportunity, and I can’t see this changing anytime soon.

Quite simply: If you want to attract and retain the best talent, consider an element of flexible working that helps support your employees desired lifestyle, but also compliments your business strategy.

Many leaders in property have said to me that flexible working isn’t an option for their business, but I’d like to challenge this statement. There is enough technology and data to say otherwise, it just requires a different and progressive mindset.

Failing to implement a flex-policy could be costly to your business. You wouldn’t post a letter when you can send an email, so why instil a conventional working structure when you can lead from the front to stimulate positive change.

D,E&I remains to be a very hot topic for obvious reasons as we all understand, and we view flexible working to be a real opportunity to diversify talent right across the industry. Whether it’s in senior appointments or pipelining fresh grads, it’s all about working together to achieve the best outcome rather than working for one another.


Wage inflation

The ONS has reported average weekly earnings have increased after falling during the pandemic period, the figures below are not inflation adjusted.

In response to market conditions, employers are increasing wages to attract new candidates and retain employees, though these increases do not outpace inflation.

My advice is to deliver a unique offering which differentiates yourself from your competition. As salaries start to settle, and the future generation require a more meaningful purpose from their career – you’ll need to solidify your employee value proposition and that all important hook!


Increased volume of job movement

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) recorded a 29% increase in job-to-job moves between Jan to March 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. The LFS reported 2022’s statistic were primarily resignations, instead of dismissals, highlighting the confidence which passive and active jobseekers now possess.

It’s important to note that even with increased volume of candidate movement, the property and construction industry still faces significant hiring challenges compared to other industries.

The CIPD states that 46% of companies surveyed have ‘hard to fill’ vacancies, with Construction having some of the greatest difficulties.

A healthy 70% of companies surveyed by the CIPD indicated that they’re planning on recruiting in the next 3 months, which will only fuel the competitiveness amongst hiring teams.


Executive Search levels ramp up further

Executive Search can often be seen as a process only for extremely senior hires, when in fact it’s the strategic hiring practice that ensures the best possible outcome.

According to CIPD, 41% of employers reported increased staff turnover, and difficulty in retaining employees.

Due to the challenges that the current market promotes, the executive search process is becoming a more popular route for hiring as employers are opting for a thorough process to mitigate any risk. This is trickling down to lower salary banded roles because companies recognise the importance of a streamlined and controlled process.

Compared to a standard search development, exec search carries out a more specific method and the designated talent partner is more committed and invested in the exercise. The results provide an almost guaranteed shortlist of individuals who don’t just have the right skills and qualifications, but soft skills too like leadership, cultural fit and long-term goals which align with the business.

One piece of advice I can provide to all current hiring managers is that pace is key. Bandwidth and connectivity help create a quicker process so anything that expedites access to decision makers is a good thing.


Data is needed to make smarter decisions

In response to the wage inflation section of this article, data projects have become more prevalent due to multiple moving dynamics and companies playing catch up on salaries post pandemic.

Candidates are aware that if they want a serious pay increase it’s not from an internal move, but much more easily achieved when moving jobs…sad, but true!

I strongly believe that wage inflation will settle down, we’ve experienced a significant post Brexit/Covid spike so I predict that this should calm over the rest of the year as caution increases.

Employers have recognised and reacted appropriately – provided pay increases to attract and retain staff - hence the recent data capture we’ve just launched.

Our recent survey aims to provide property employers with a deeper insight, to gain more control. We also offer a number of clients with tailored data and research projects, so any serious decision is tactical, considered, and deliberate.


Innovation and differentiation are the name of the game

Another prediction from my January note was the evolution of how we hire. The same methods which were used in the 90’s is happening today, yet the market, environment, tools and people are all very much different.

Are you assessing your current hiring and employment landscape? It’s critical to understand what your business currently offers, where you perform compared to your competitors and how these align with what your prospective and current employees want.

It’s almost impossible to appeal to your target audience without understanding what motivates them.

According to CIPD, 36% of organisations collect zero data in any of the areas below. Even where information is collected most employers seemingly only collect data in a few areas. The candidate experience element is more critical than ever considering how hard it is to hire people currently.

According to Pete Sheppard, Managing Director of deverellsmith’s RPO function, the most important element which hiring managers should focus on is retention of new hires (within the first year) and performance of new hires (within first year). This data will highlight what’s been done well in the business, what’s been done poorly and ultimately, it’s a story to tell for people who do not work for the business.

Prospective employees want to know if the business has a clear direction, track record in the market, and how quickly they can perform and have the skills that everyone else possesses in that position has.

Being shortlisted or winning industry awards is one tactic to showcase your business success; additionally, consider expanding and explain why you are a good place to work, why your tech stands out, how your support your staff and so on to really attract staff.

Pete Sheppard comments, “As the number of jobs outstrips the unemployed figure, businesses are forced to understand what they have to offer and why it benefits a potential applicant. Content that highlights potential issues someone may have in their current job whilst evidencing how it would be different should they move will give companies a better chance of finding people who want a better job rather than simply need a new one.

Companies need to invest in their recruitment function for the long term. Identifying procedural improvements that speed up decisions, utilising market information to ensure the offers are in line with the current market rates and perhaps most importantly, giving a clear understanding of how someone can progress should they wish to.

This puts more and more pressure on the managers to evolve their own skills. Treating every interview as a fresh challenge to understand what an individual is trying to achieve and articulating how you can help them get there. Crucially, once that individual agrees to join your business there must be sufficient time and effort put in to making good on your assurances.

If a business can instil this culture and train their management team to deliver for their staff consistently it will become much easier to attract talent but perhaps more importantly, keep the talent you have nurtured.”

​If you are seeking further expertise on how to hire in 2022 and reach the best of the best, you can contact me on