The world of real estate did not shut down with each lockdown of the pandemic. If anything, the industry flourished. As we were forced to stay at home, many opted to upgrade their dwellings. As the demand for real estate increased, so did the workload.
We have had an influx of inquiries from agents looking for assistants and brokerages seeking deal administrators to process all the transactions. We have spoken to hundreds of candidates this year, and a lot of the feedback we have received is quite similar. Here is a sampling of what we have been hearing:
Benefits and compensation matter:
It’s expensive to live in a big city. With a lot of people working and spending a lot more time at home, living spaces have become more important. Although we saw a decrease in rental prices at the height of the pandemic, they have now risen back up to where they were. Real estate administrative staff are now expecting higher salaries than was once common in the industry.
Candidates are more aware of how demanding, involved, stressful and fast-paced the industry can be and want to be compensated accordingly. We still see agents looking for an assistant with several years of experience, and yet they are only willing to pay them $50,000. Increases in cost of living as well as general inflation should be taken into consideration with real estate salaries as well. The persistent lack of benefits in the industry is also a concern that often comes up. The expense for an agent or brokerage to offer benefits to their staff is not that substantial. Why is the industry so behind on taking proper care of their employees?
The laws of supply and demand:
There is a lot of competition for good real estate administrative staff. Each great candidate may have five jobs to choose from. In our own client base, we have seen quite a few great candidates get scooped up by another employer because the agent didn’t act quickly enough.
Taking weeks or even days before responding to a candidate’s profile will likely leave them empty handed.
Another trend we have seen lately is using a job offer to leverage more money from a current employer. With a shortage of administrative staff in the industry, candidates are able to barter for what they want.
Work / life balance:
Working from home during the pandemic was a blessing for many, and most candidates are looking to continue doing so. While a lot of brokerages and agents adapted, a lot are now expecting their staff to come back to the office full time. While we understand the want and need for staff to come into the office occasionally, the pandemic has proven that working from home can be done quite efficiently. Offering a hybrid work schedule for employees would be a great option, if they prefer, and likely boost morale. If they can demonstrate that they are able to work productively remotely, it should not be an issue.
We have been noticing the shift in the real estate industry for quite a while now. Administrative staff are no longer willing to work in toxic environments for low pay, and they are being lost to other industries that will treat them well. If the industry does not take note of this, and actively try to improve, there will continue to be a shortage of great administrative staff.