Global Real Estate Job Outlook on the Rise – 61% Plan to Increase Hiring in 2012

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Ferguson Partners Ltd. Survey Reveals 70% Jump in Forecasted Hiring Since 2010; Nearly 70% of U.S. Real Estate companies plan to increase hiring this year

A global survey of real estate companies conducted by Ferguson Partners Ltd., a global executive recruitment consultancy, finds that 61% of all respondents anticipate adding to their workforce in 2012 – a jump of nearly 70% from two years ago, when only 36% planned to increase hiring.

“The hiring demand is much stronger than most people in the real estate industry anticipated. It looks like most of the growth will be in middle management and entry level positions, which is a reflection of firms rebuilding infrastructure after the 2008 meltdown,” said William J. Ferguson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ferguson Partners Ltd. “From a global perspective, the U.S. is showing some momentum, Europe is unsteady and the impact of China’s economic slowdown on Asia is an unknown. Yet, despite ongoing challenges around the globe, an abundance of capital flow is helping to increase demand for investment and other talent.”

The 2012 Global Hiring Forecast is based on the responses of over 120 professionals, including CEOs and other senior-level executives from companies active in commercial property investment and commercial mortgage lending, along with a sampling of respondents from investment banks, REIT securities, law firms, corporate real estate groups, and pension funds. Ferguson Partners Ltd. conducted the annual international survey from November 1, 2011 through December 15, 2011 with executives representing real estate firms across North America, Europe and Asia.

The Findings

Hiring optimism makes significant jump since 2010.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of all respondents anticipate an increase in total workforce size in 2012 – up from 56% in 2011 and a significant jump from 2010, when only 36% planned to increase hiring. This constitutes an increase of nearly 70% since two years ago.

Junior professionals in highest demand.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of respondents expect executive hiring to remain flat in 2012. However, in an effort to rebuild the infrastructure that was decimated in 2008, 65% of respondents plan to hire junior-level people to their workforce, while 56% said that they would be hiring mid-level management. This represents an increase of 10% and 8%, respectively since 2011.

By comparison, in the U.S. few will be adding executive talent (about 6%) while 71% of the respondents said that they would be adding junior talent, and another 59% said that they would be adding middle management.

Strongest hiring demand in North America.
Ranked as the top region globally in forecasted demand for 2012, 45% of respondents with operations in North America plan to hire there. In the U.S., 68% of the respondents said they would be adding staff in 2012. This is largely due to the fact that organizations in this region downsized significantly in 2008. Anticipated hiring by real estate companies in Europe ranked second at 30%, slightly up from 25% in 2011. Despite the economic challenges facing the eurozone, companies are still seeing opportunities for growth in this region; big private equity players from the U.S. have been building teams to identify distressed investment opportunities. Tied for second, Asia’s anticipated hiring ticks up slightly with 30% of companies with operations in the region planning to hire, compared to 27% in 2011. In contrast, only 16% of companies with South American operations anticipate hiring.

From a geographic perspective, demand was comparable across the United States with the exception of the Midwest, where demand was predicted to be more modest at 28%. The gateway cities appear to be most active. Demand in the South at 44% is higher than anticipated as baby boomers retire.

Professionals who can stabilize value and drive cash flow are in highest demand.
When asked about functional hiring, 44% of the respondents said that they would be adding to their property management/leasing teams, and more than half (51%) said that they would be adding to their asset management/portfolio management teams. And, since equity capital is still abundant, both acquisitions professionals (48%) as well as capital raisers (39%) tend to be in greater demand than other functional groups. In addition, as the lending business becomes more robust, nearly one-third (32%) of respondents will be hiring underwriting and processing employees this year.

In the U.S., demand was comparable to global trends, with property management and asset management personnel in most demand at 52% and 50%, respectively, followed by acquisitions professionals (45%) and capital raising/investor relations specialists (33%). Lending markets continue to be active, with 33% of U.S. respondents planning to hire mortgage originators and 31% planning to hire underwriting/processing professionals.

To view the full survey report, click here.

About Ferguson Partners Ltd.

Ferguson Partners is a global boutique executive search firm that specializes in providing executive, director, and professional search services to a select group of related industries. Our committed senior partners bring a wealth of expertise and category-specific knowledge to leaders across the real estate, asset and wealth management, hospitality and leisure, and healthcare sectors. Together with its sister company, FPL Associates, which provides compensation and management consulting services, the FPL Advisory Group family of companies serves clients across the globe from offices in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Tokyo.

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