Australia’s high housing prices and record-low interest rates have kept the real estate market firmly in the spotlight. However, it’s not only bricks and mortar in demand across the country. The buoyant property market is also fuelling a greater need for top industry talent.
Data from the Bank of International Settlements shows Australian housing prices have surged a staggering 6,556% since the early 1960s. This equates to an average annual increase of 8.1%. Meanwhile, our growing urban population has required a greater supply of housing to meet demand. These factors combine to create a fast-paced industry where talented candidates can carve out a satisfying and successful career.
More opportunities for candidates
The latest data from SEEK Employment Trends shows job ads for the Real Estate & Property industry rose 5% from August to October compared to the same time last year and the average advertised salary over the period also rose by 5.4% to $74,835.
Areas of the industry offering the greatest opportunity over this time included residential leasing and property management, residential sales and administration, and body corporate and facilities management.
Rhiannon Gay, head of real estate recruitment at Gough Recruitment, says the growth in new residential developments in Sydney and Melbourne is creating greater need for industry talent. “As more apartments are being built and rented out, we’re seeing a growing need for candidates in property management with a strong professional outlook,” she says.
Attitude is everything
Marcus Williams, CEO of Harcourts Group Australia, says a sense of professionalism has never been more important to the industry. “We’ve all heard horror stories about people dealing with [real estate] agents and, as an industry, we have a responsibility to ensure that we improve our service levels.”
Around 2,500 people work under the Harcourts brand across just over 400 locations in Australia. Williams explains the company is launching a new program to gauge customer experiences to ensure it understands their needs.
“We want salespeople to join an industry that is truly professional,” he says. “They need to care about their clients and genuinely offer the very best in terms of service. I think more and more candidates are turning to the real estate field because they do see that it is a profession. It's improving all the time and it needs to continue to do so.”
Skills in demand
While the buoyant housing market is driving demand for talent, the commercial sector is also experiencing growth.
Charter Hall is one of Australia’s leading property groups, with a total managed property portfolio of assets such as office buildings and supermarket retail centres. It employs approximately 500 people across the country. Natalie Devlin, Charter Hall’s Group Executive, People, Brand and Community, says traditional industry skills have been shifting.
“There has generally been a focus on technical expertise in the property industry, but now we’re seeing different requirements,” she says. “There’s a greater need for talent with digital capabilities, for example, as well as the ability to work collaboratively across functions.”
Making your mark
While there are more opportunities for candidates in real estate and property on SEEK, experts say adequate preparation will be vital to successful job interviews.
“If you walk into an interview knowing nothing about the company, it really turns employers off,” says Gay. “Employers want to know that you're proactive, so do your research have a few questions prepared in advance.”
Williams adds that strong communication skills are highly sought after. “The bottom line is that real estate is a people business,” he states. “Technology is of course important in driving the industry forward, but if we don't have a team of people that can engage in a professional, courteous manner with clients, then all the apps in the world won’t help us. People with the right attitude are so vital to the success of the industry.”
At Charter Hall, Devlin looks for candidates with an ability to learn and to transfer their skills across different areas of a business. “As work structures continue to evolve, I suspect we’ll see less focus on individual roles and more focus on pieces of work,” she says. “This means that learning agility and adjustability will become more important.”
When it comes to resumes, Devlin says don’t be afraid to include personal interests. “I think employers are interested in that interplay between personal and professional,” she says. “It’s also important to include tangible results in your resume that show how you’ve added value to a business.”
The real estate industry has been a hot topic in recent years due to Australia’s housing boom. While the direction of property prices looks uncertain, demand for professional talent remains clear.