The estate agency recruitment market has been highly influenced by ongoing political and economic trends in the past 12 months. As a result, there has been a pendulum swing in hiring activity across the sector and for the first time in ten years, replacement hiring has outweighed growth as agencies shift their focus to nurturing their bottom lines and curbing ambitious growth plans.
Overall, across the estate agency sector, there has been a significant drop in advertised roles for new starters and focus is less on volume and turnover and more on value and longevity.
With this shift to hiring and retaining mid – level to senior proven talent, we have seen, an increasing trend for “golden handshakes” as competition for these individuals heightens. We expect to see more signing on bonuses over the next year as competition increases and employers striving to keep joining base salaries low and reward performance with higher bonuses.
Within the traditional high street sector, hiring has been reactive to faltering retention levels, fuelled by a flight to online and alternative career paths. Employers are seeking consistency and recognising the value in experienced, senior employees who can continue to perform in challenging market conditions and who are committed to a long term career in estate agency. There has also been a consolidation of retail portfolios and compression in growth from high street agents, as high performing branches are operating over larger territories. We anticipate this will continue and forecast a rise of hot-desks and more flexible working models for traditional agencies in the future.
The online sector, has for the first year since inception begun to slow their growth rate and focus on retention and upskilling in customer service and sales. We have, in recent months begun to see a fall out of candidates who are becoming frustrated with the lack of structure and team support seeking to return to traditional or hybrid agencies.
The first quarter of 2018 witnessed a return in market activity for London’s prime market and in turn sales professionals who had, in the last few years moved to branches outside Central London are slowly beginning to return.
Gentrification and transport upgrades coupled with continued unaffordable housing prices in London has continued to push home buyers and tenants further away from the Capital and competition for Sales and Lettings Negotiators in the South East did see a rise of 6% in roles advertised year on year. There are continued talent shortages in the lettings market as a consequence of high levels of professionals opting to seek alternative career paths when faced with variable economic pressure. Additionally, the emergence of tech in the lettings sector has further deterred candidates into the market. This has led to employers increasing signing on bonuses and improving commission packages to compete for remaining talent in the market.
Talented sales professionals with a proven track record will be motivated by the opportunity to earn higher remuneration through performance related fees and a lower basic.
The most successful agents in adverse economic conditions will continue to perform if they are committed to a long term career in the profession.
Focus on retention and plan ahead for losses.
Earning potential alone will not attract high quality candidates. Candidates are increasingly attracted by work life balance, clear progressive career paths and empowering, forward thinking and collaborative cultures.
A big challenge in estate agency is retaining talent for the long term. Plan progression paths according to the individual.