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An Assessment of the U.S. Job Market in Commercial Real Estate

2019 Q3 Update & Emerging Trends Job Barometer


Increases in Acquisitions and Development Hiring Spurred by Opportunity Zone Projects

Peak Job Market for Real Estate Job Seekers


NEW YORK, NY. – Classic real estate employment theory dictates that a decade into an economic expansion we should see acquisitions and development job postings in decline and property management jobs on the increase. Today’s real estate job market defies that logic. Acquisitions positions continue their steady increase and now represent 9% of all commercial real estate job postings according to the latest SelectLeaders Job Barometer report. Development job opportunities also remain strong at 7% of all openings, well above the historic average of 4%.

“Hiring in acquisitions and development is extremely strong, and undoubtedly aided by investment ramping up within the 8,700 opportunity zones nationwide,” said Dr. David Funk, managing editor of the Job Barometer, adding that if even a fraction of the $2 trillion in unrealized gains available are invested it is enough to influence real estate hiring. Acquisitions jobs jumped past property management openings as the third most job posting after openings in finance/investment and asset & portfolio management

Graph 1: US & Commercial Real Estate Jobs 2007 to Present

Strong acquisition and development hiring typically characterizes coming out of a down real estate cycle, not at the cusp of a decade-long economic expansion, yet now represent two out of the top five commercial real estate job postings. “Equity chasing real estate deals combined with attractive debt pricing exacerbates the challenge in finding opportunities, which has added pressure to building out acquisition team talent and depth,” said Funk, adding that robust hiring of development talent underscores the rush to get in on opportunity zone projects before the end of 2019. “We will see whether hiring in acquisitions and development continue into 2020 as the benefits from opportunity zones tapers off,” said Funk.

Graph 2: Job Postings by Field 2017 to Present

As the US unemployment rate has hit a 50-year low of 3.5% and labor participation rates continue to rise, not surprisingly commercial real estate employment has shifted to a peak seller’s market. “Commercial real estate job seekers in Q3 2019 were the most selective on record, and in response employers are expanding their recruiting strategies, noted SelectLeaders CEO, Susan Phillips, adding, “We dubbed jobs seekers selectivity in their job applications in this economy as “The Pickiness Factor” which rose to new levels during the summer of 2019 as real estate opportunities spiked.”

Graph 3: CRE Jobs compared to U.S. Non Farm Jobs 2007 to Present

Overall real estate job postings for Q3 remained on par with the same period last year, and followed the traditional fall in hiring activity during the summer.

Half of all commercial real estate jobs are found in just three states – California, New York, and Texas – with a strongest demand coming from applicants in New York. New York represented 18% of all job postings in Q3 2019 yet 35% of all applications came from job seekers in the empire state. In the first four months of 2019 even The Pickiness Factor waned for highly popular jobs such as acquisitions and development. Phillips added, “The opportunities in tech-fueled new growth cities like Austin, Texas is continuing to support the demand for Acquisitions and Development counter-cyclical real estate hiring.”

Graph 4: Real Estate Job Postings by State Q3 201

About the SelectLeaders Job Barometer

The SelectLeaders Job Barometer, published since 2006, is the foremost survey of employment opportunities, trends, and hiring practices in the commercial real estate industry.

About the SelectLeaders Real Estate Job Network

SelectLeaders powers the Career Centers for 12 premier real estate industry Associations (whose members control or direct 90% of commercial real estate). Jobs are from all sectors and all levels with 29% paying over $100,000. SelectLeaders Job Network offers unequalled access to the Real Estate community. To learn more visit selectleaders.com or visit our Job Network Career Centers: BOMA, CCIM, CoreNet Global, CREFC, CREW Network, GlobeST.com, NAIOP, NAREIM, NAREIT, NMHC, PREA, ULI


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