Fuelled by housing demands, recruitment levels for property, block and estate management grew rapidly throughout the past twelve months. Predictably, skill short areas in customer services saw the most significant salary increases, with uplifts of up to 16%. There has been a notable trend from employers becoming more open to transferable skills and more movement between AST, PRS and block management companies. The trend in hiring transferable skills has been cemented with the significant uptake in the contract workforce, where employers are experimenting with different professional backgrounds and transferable skills, trying individuals on a temp contract capacity as part of a working interview process.
The growth of the sector and the pressure for headcount growth has seen employers improve retention strategies with increased salaries, counter offers and competitive packages to reduce replacement hiring levels.
Economic conditions in the housing market have continued to fuel growth in the AST sector, which in turn has seen demand for property managers at the highest level for over the past three years. The majority of employers are focusing on headcount and often hire for multiple positions at once. Uplifts in salary of 10% – 20% have meant candidate attraction into the sector has been financially led, which has consequently ignited the trend for job hopping. Companies are using contractors to deal with seasonal AST demand, thereby not having to commit to extra numbers of staff all year round.
The trend for high end service charge in the prime markets was reflected in salaries with an upward increase of up to 15% for concierge, estate and block managers, where roles are often entirely customer focused and hiring managers continue to seek candidates with luxury hospitality experience. Notably the market saw a dramatic rise in the use of interim staff to strategically fit into rotas to enable increased site presence.
In block management, there was continued Central London demand and significant increase in regional demand, reflective of the pressure housing targets are having on the employment pipeline. Employers strove to bolster their customer service levels and
their expectations from candidates escalated. Another notable trend has been that the recruitment process is beginning earlier at the development stage. This has led to some employers implementing up to a four stage interview process, and in turn expanding the time to hire. As a result, in an already increasingly competitive employment market, employers are exposed to missing out on first choice candidates.
Property management recruitment for the Build to Rent sector accelerated towards the last quarter of 2017. This relatively new and high growth sector has begun to expose skills shortages as employers seek experienced Property Managers with operational management and customer service skill sets. The lure of a progressive sector with growth opportunities has meant candidate attraction to BTR was strong, but the majority lacked the experience or skill set required by hiring managers.
To protect against salary increases from competition for skills and critical gaps in their teams, employers are beginning to switch their focus and hiring budgets to training, development and up-skilling internally. We anticipate this trend to progress over the next twelve months.
Salaries in student housing management sustained as the market saw modest growth compared to previous years. There have been pockets of growth across the country, however, the majority of hiring was replacement led. Temp use was up to help cope with seasonal launch capacity issues.
In a candidate driven market streamlined recruitment processes and quick decisions are vital to ensure you don’t lose candidates to your competitors.
Salary is not the only factor that will attract high calibre candidates. Career development and work life balance often supersede monetary gain. Ensure you offer more than just a salary and always sell the opportunity and company in the interview process.
Always be willing to meet a candidate on a valued recommendation.
Consider a mentor scheme, make them feel valued and welcome and ensure they receive training. Look after your employees from day one.
Give back to them, time off for work life balance, pay rises before they try to leave and always consider flexible and remote working, especially if your location impacts candidate attraction and retention.
Strategically use interim staff to give your business flexibility and resilience whilst keeping quality and reducing over hiring.