macdonald and company
macdonald and company

A third of talent is hidden to all but the professional recruitment sector

Posting date: 9 December 2020
Nicholas Carman our consultant managing the role

38% of all respondents found their most recent real estate role using a recruitment agency. 

The results are from 4,391 respondents in the industry for The RICS and Macdonald & Company's 21st edition of the annual Salary, Rewards and Attitudes Survey. (Sign up to recieve notification of the report launch for mid-January.)

52% are more likely to use an agency rather than relying on their Personal Network.

Respondent percentage of how current roles were found

(global aggregate)

Result highlights

• 38% of the real estate sector is hidden to all but the professional recruitment sector

• 52% more popular than the next most popular 'Personal Network' option

• 10% more likely for female job seekers to use a recruitment professional

• The importance of proactive talent management has seen the demise of print and trade advertising with just 2.6% of all European respondents finding their latest role using this method

The evolving nature of talent sourcing

Employers in Real Estate are familiar with the constant challenge to source the very best talent in the sector. They must increasingly compete with other sectors for the very best of graduate and experienced hires. This competition has driven the need for proactive practices of professional recruitment advisors. 

We can see this in the changing nature of how our respondents find their most recent role. Gone are the days when employers can use adverts in trade publications and rely on these sources to attract candidates in niche fields. It's no surprise to see 6.6% of professionals in the UK found their role in trade press advertisements and in Europe 2.6%. 

With recruitment advisors being the preferred choice by the majority of survey respondents, and 38% of those finding their current roles via an agency, real estate companies choosing to invest time and money in alternative sources of finding talent are missing hidden talent available to them.

Nicholas Carman, Director

It is not enough to simply ‘we are hiring’; employers need to be proactive and strategic in their approach to ensure they are successful. Many of the traditional means simply no longer have the reach or ability to be heard by a large cross-section of the industry. 

Reach is particularly important when we consider the diversity of thought and experience. The hiring methods have a big part to play in how open Real Estate is. 

‘Traditional’ Networking has been disrupted

2020 will be remembered for a variety of reasons. But to those hiring within the impact of the global pandemic will witness how it is the greatest disruptor to how employers will recruit talent. 

It has forced the sector to adopt video meetings, it’s seen much greater adoption of online testing in place of boardroom presentations and new employers starting a role having never met colleagues or managers. 

This habit-disruption has meant both employers and their recruitment advisors have had to change the way they approach every hiring decision. Finding new ways to navigate and sometimes replace traditional rites of passage of the hiring process. 

One major impact has been to the traditional favourite, using Personal Network to source your next role. This disruption has only accelerated since the pandemic.

The real estate sectors’ usual full calendar of events and association with ‘a quick drink’ or lavish ballroom supper have all evaporated in 2020. Regular member events have moved to online webinar/lecture-style presentations, decadent prize ceremonies are now announced on social media using champagne emojis. 

Consequently, broadening your networking to the average job-seeker has been difficult, but so too has the employer had fewer opportunities to meet prospective employees. It has heightened the need for online presence, employer branding and the reach of their recruitment advisors. 

Do titles matter? They do when it relates to how you find your next role

It seems titles do matter, especially when it comes to how our respondents described how they found their most recent role. 

4 of the 5 categories described using a recruitment professional to help land their job. Graduates were marginally more successful in finding their most recent role using direct approaches (22.4% Direct Company vs 21% Recruitment Advisor). 

Most popular ways of landing real estate roles by career stage

Real estate professionals find the most success landing roles using professional recruiters

• 38% Managing Directors and C-Suite used a professional recruitment advisor

• 39% Directors used a professional recruitment advisor

• 47% Managers used a professional recruitment advisor

• 35% Qualified Professionals used a professional recruitment advisor

• 22% Graduates/In Training succeeded with a direct approach to their employer


47% of all Managers found their current role using a recruitment advisor, almost three times more likely than either direct company approaches (16.9%) or using their personal network (16.4%). 

The typical engine room of the real estate sector has a much smaller personal network, they are often unable to take a more strategic view on their careers and so will be immune to the traditional reactive job hunting sources of advertising, direct company contact or LinkedIn. 

Knowing where to invest resources to fill your next vacancy

With recruitment advisors being the preferred choice by the majority of survey respondents, and 38% of those finding their current roles via an agency, real estate companies choosing to invest time and money in alternative sources of finding talent are missing hidden talent available to them. 

It appears the industry is relying less on their closed networks, which can be a step in the right direction for diversity in thoughts and experience, driving future growth and development in the industry.


If you have a role to fill, share your vacancy here, or get in touch with one of our specialist teams nearest to you.

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