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Real estate trends to watch: Sourcing and securing the next generation of talent

Real estate trends to watch: Sourcing and securing the next generation of talent

3 Minute Read

Securing top talent in real estate will come down to your ability and willingness to alter business practices, and challenge assumptions.

Vice President, Real Estate and Construction

From property management to construction, all organizations in Canada’s multi-faceted real estate industry are feeling economic pressures of some kind, especially given today’s volatile environment. But among all the challenges discussed at the recent 2022 BOMEX Canada conference, one key trend stood out: how to secure the next generation of talent.

The real estate talent pipeline

Business owners and managers in real estate are realizing sticking to the status quo of sourcing, securing, and retaining talent won’t work in the future. And in light of the current labour shortages in the industry, that future may be closer than we think.

The next generation of talent is entering the real estate space with different backgrounds, new ideas, and evolving expectations of what a career in real estate could look like. Their career paths are less conventional and linear. Their ambitions extend to all facets of the industry — not just construction and real estate agencies, but also institutional investors, property management firms, pension funds, and more.

Historically, most real estate organizations didn’t raise awareness about career opportunities in the industry as effectively as they would like — the industry was rife with dynamic and challenging careers not enough young people even knew existed. Even today, many young people who hear the words “real estate” immediately think of the physical property side, without knowing about the growing importance of intellectual property and financial modeling in real estate.

However, because of the aggregation of Class A real estate assets, and the growing sophistication of large property managers and investors, we’re beginning to see more people drawn to innovative career paths in real estate.

An increasing number of real estate companies are sponsoring, recruiting, and promoting themselves inside leading business schools and commerce programs — some business schools even have courses and academic streams dedicated solely to real estate. Organizations are attracting a broader spectrum of young talent in fields such as risk modeling, technology and data, marketing, finance, and more.

Investing in the next generation of talent can also ensure a smoother succession process. Industry leaders who are approaching retirement need to ensure they’re backfilling roles with sustainability, thought leadership, and business acumen as top priorities.

What the next generation of leaders expects

Meaningful and challenging work

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of people re-evaluated their priorities and expectations for their work life, which led to a trend commonly called the Great Resignation. In reality, most did not leave the workforce entirely; they changed jobs or pursued self-employment, making “resignation” somewhat of a misnomer.

This workforce churn was underpinned by a desire to find meaning and connection with work. As an organizational leader in real estate, you can help create this sense of purpose in the following ways:

  • Talk about impact: Show your employees the positive impact their work is having, not just on your company’s bottom line, but on society in general. If their work is helping people, even in small ways, gain housing security or create a more level playing field in real estate, let them know.
  • Learn about people: Early in someone’s tenure working at your organization, find out what they enjoy doing and give them more opportunities to do it. Be deliberate about combating the forces that caused many people to lose interest in their work at the heights of COVID.
  • Invest in technology: To whatever degree you are able, automate routine and repetitive tasks that are burdensome for employees. Freeing up their time for challenging work that they enjoy, through digital transformation, will show you’re invested in them.

Diverse and inclusive workplaces

Just as real estate companies historically struggled to build awareness about exciting job opportunities they had available, many organizations also struggled to build awareness on their values surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). That trend is changing for the better — many companies have made strides to improve workplace culture and key DE&I metrics.

The next generation of leaders in your organization will expect your workplace to be more reflective of the communities where you do business. Some of your up-and-coming employees may be uncomfortable if they’re the only one at the table of a certain race or gender but may also be hesitant to raise the issue directly. How can you address these issues now to prepare for the future?

As you challenge preconceived biases and old norms that may exist in your organization, be mindful of those dynamics you may not see on the surface. Making your workplace accessible and safe for a broader demographic of people from all races, genders, and walks of life, could become your most effective tool to combat labour shortages.

Look towards the future

The next generation of leaders in your real estate business need to be confident and prepared to fill challenging roles. Finding and retaining them won’t always be easy, which means investing in their development has become all the more crucial.

Building awareness with young people about the exciting career opportunities in your organization, and creating an inclusive and dynamic workplace they will want to be part of, are the best places to start.

Contact us

To learn more about how MNP can help your organization, contact Lee Thiessen, MBA.


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