Business LeadershipElite Agent

How the real estate employment landscape shapes up in 2018

As real estate agencies head back to work for 2018, employees are enjoying more flexible working hours, an increased dependence on technology, and a healthier work life balance. Meanwhile, ongoing training and personal development will be the big-ticket trends emerging this year, according to Real+ Senior Recruitment Consultant Alison McGavin.

McGavin’s sentiments echo the findings of global human resources think-tank Reventure who tip worker wellbeing will remain one of our priorities in 2018.

The Reventure research indicates a quarter of Australian workers believe their workplace’s focus on wellbeing increased in 2017, as an estimated 49 per cent of Australian employees are likely to consider looking for a new job in the coming year.

So, as real estate logs in, clocks on and gets back to business for 2018, these are the top trends emerging in employment.

Flexible working hours

A desk-based employment environment where the hours are strictly 9am to 5pm is long gone, according to Ms McGavin, who notes many real estate agencies are already actively embracing the flexible and mobile working ethos.

A combination of improved technology, such as cloud-based applications, and the expectations of a mobile millennial workforce are driving the trend.

“Dynamic agencies are offering flexible hours where people can work from home if necessary, and employees are no longer required to sit at a desk from 9am to 5pm,” she notes.

Better work-life balance

While Reventure states this flexible arrangement flexible working arrangement can result in a 24/7 schedule with workers constantly attached to the office through their devices, Ms McGavin believes the real estate industry is among those mastering the balance.

Flexible working arrangements occur on a trust basis, she continues.

“With the whole buzz-word of work/life balance, people are becoming strict with themselves,” she continues. Employees have become accustomed to ensuring the job gets done, but downtime is also enjoyed.

In property management, the role is often reactive and task-based, meaning it’s clear to employers when the role is being adequately fulfilled, but in sales, the time spent working is often dependent on the results an individual salesperson is looking to achieve.

For many property managers, the six-day work week is also becoming a thing of the past. Instead, there’s an emerging trend where agencies utilise junior staff for weekend work.

Better parental conditions

The upshot of more flexible arrangements sees working mothers re-enter the real estate industry more readily.

“It’s 100 per cent easier for mums of young children to work in real estate,” Ms McGavin notes. Where the industry used to be prohibitive, often involving a six-day schedule, a shift towards a five-day working week and cloud-based technology enables “flexibility and easier access”.

Life experience counts

Meanwhile, life experience counts as property managers are required to fill an advisory role, rather than just acting as an intermediary between landlords and tenants.

“Landlords are looking to property managers to be more of a sounding board, and are requiring them to take more of an advisory approach.

“As a result, there’s more value being placed on the life experience of a property manager.”

More training

The increased expectation of experience and the rising demands of technology are resulting in a demand for better initial and ongoing training, Ms McGavin continues.

As property managers become more valued, the initial qualifications they receive will need to become more comprehensive, while personal and professional development will become an expectation of employees.

“Ongoing training is huge,” Ms McGavin states. “When agencies are hiring they need a training budget and better programs to facilitate ongoing professional development.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.

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