Hiring Outlook Differs for Commercial and Residential Real Estate

January 18, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The 2008 job outlook for real estate professionals in the commercial sector remains positive, a contrast to the outlook for the majority of residential real estate firms, according to a new survey conducted by FPL Advisory Group, an industry strategic recruitment and advisory firm.

Approximately 75% of survey respondents who identify themselves as Commercial Ownership/Services Firms intend to increase their staff in 2008, despite continuing uncertainty in the financial markets, a press release said. Another 17% anticipate no change in headcount, and just 5% in the commercial sector said they plan to reduce staff.

Top hiring priorities include asset/portfolio management and property management functions, and the survey found there still is significant demand for talent to support acquisitions, development, and other growth functions.

On the other hand, over 70% of FPL respondents active as homebuilders, residential mortgage bankers, or residential brokerage companies predict their total headcount will decline in 2008. There will be demand for new talent in major West Coast markets, which have sustained a positive market for condominium and mixed use development, but the outlook for hiring among residential real estate sector firms elsewhere is gloomy, according to the release.

The majority of survey respondents across real estate sectors still expect single-digit increases in total compensation (including base salary, annual cash bonus, and long-term equity awards) for 2008. Salaries will likely increase at rates similar to corporate America in general (3-4%), cash bonuses are predicted to remain stable and in some cases will increase, and long-term components may drop.

The survey generated and analyzed 275 responses from professionals, including CEOs and other senior-level executives from companies active primarily in commercial property investment and commercial mortgage lending and single-family homebuilding, along with a sampling of respondents from investment banks, real estate investment trusts, major corporate real estate departments, and pension funds actively investing in the real estate sector.

The full survey report is available at http://www.fpladvisorygroup.com.