Bin those suits and ties! Industry dress code a huge issue for younger candidates, warns recruiter

People in their twenties and thirties are being turned off from working in estate agency because they dislike the dress code.

They want jackets and ties to be binned in favour of a more relaxed working environment.

A new blog – written by intern Will Missen but to the brief of Barry Collins –  on the CPR property recruitment website says: “This is a huge issue for the property industry, which desperately needs to modernise in terms of dress codes merely as a starting point.”

Missen, 19, is a first-year student of English literature at Southampton University.

His blog says that estate and letting agents have been slow to catch on to what millennials really want, instead negatively categorising them as lazy and uncommitted.

But instead of complaining, he says, employers should be adjusting their businesses and vacancies to accommodate the changing demands of the current workforce.

It points out that the cost of living has gone up, but basic salaries in the industry have not. Something else needs to be provided – and millennials want their jobs to be fulfilling.

They want flexible working hours and days, and they “don’t want to sit in an office for ten hours a day to do work that could possibly be done from home, or even while commuting with their phone or laptop. Their accessibility to work is different, and the environment needs to change to reflect this new freedom and technology.”

Other employers, in media sales and digital marketing, look for the same entry-level candidates as agents, but provide a more forward thinking and collaborative environment. They will often provide pool tables and TVs, and lay on free breakfasts.

The blog suggests that every job in agency for someone under 24 should be treated like a graduate scheme.

Missen concludes: “Clearly, to negatively stereotype millennials is to misunderstand how they differ from you and from their parents; complaining won’t do any good for your hiring process. What will help, however, is recognising Generation Y as different.”


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  1. smile please

    Well reading the above estate agency is just not for them!

    I do not think we need to change our drescode or lay on pool tables and breakfasts. I think this whiney generation need to man up and realise it’s a job!

    1. Bless You

      i dont wear a tie but until generation x have some houses to sell they have to dress like my customers want them to.. NEXT!

    2. BarryCollins01

      Do read the full, non-paraphrased article on our website, rather than just the title of this post!!! You’ll get a better perspective there.

      Changing the dresscode or laying on pool tables and breakfasts are only CONTRIBUTORY reasons why media giants, as well as online/hybrid agencies, are clearly being able to attract better candidates than traditional estate agencies right now!

      It just indicates a less uptight atmosphere (to some people).


      1. smile please

        online/hybrid agencies, are clearly being able to attract better candidates


        Ha ha – No they are not. They have the dregs of the industry that are journeymen or mobile phone salesmen with no experience.

  2. Blue

    Please don’t stereotype millennials says the youth stereotyping millennials.

    1. BarryCollins01

      Read the full article on CPR’s website instead of the paraphrased above to understand that I’m far from stereotyping here – you’ll find the statistics if you look hard enough.


  3. Robert May

    Watch out Josh,  Collins property recruitment are picking up the cream of the candidates.


    Helpful link A B.A. in reading is not the same thing as a B.A. from Reading

  4. Jrsteeve

    When an advertorial fails. If a suit and tie puts you off maybe consider retail.

    1. BarryCollins01

      Again, read the full article. The dress code point is very much secondary.


  5. porkpie

    Interestingly one of the most successful agents round here doesn’t have a ‘shiny suit and tie’ dresscode with all staff including valuers allowed to wear smart casual attire.

    528 currently active listings across three offices can’t be wrong.

    Not everyone wants to deal with someone in a suit. A suit and tie can sometimes put barriers between you and certain clients. We have also loosened the dresscode a little and the feedback is that it makes us more approachable.

    1. seenitall

      I had to loosen my dress code when I put on a bit of extra weight.

      I ask staff if they feel they would like to come into work at 10.30am, talk to only the nice clients, perhaps do some typing/calls remember to take a break at 11am for a coffee from the local coffee shop.  Clearly they need to stop work and rest at 12, play a bit of snooker (not pool for obvious reasons) catch up with some day time tv,  twitface etc.

      I ask for a show of hands at 1.30pm as to who would like to go home early at 3pm?    Im so fortunate that all my staff partake and go at 3pm.    Oh yes  – a pay rise each 6 weeks cos they have very high social bills to cover and its my duty as an employer to help them reach their goals in life.   Mr Corbyn also has said that our fees and rents cant increase as tenants pay too much already – so thats ok – I sub them as well if my staff are a bit short each month.



      1. porkpie

        That’s all well and good but what’s that got to do with the discussion about dress?

      2. MrSerious

        +1 for brightening the start to the day!

  6. KemptownAgent

    Forget about the suit & ties, I think anyone from the youth generation applying for this career should have a basic common knowledge test. starting with the following questions;

    “How many days after you promise to call someone back that day do you actually call them back?”

    “If you don’t know the answer to something, do you A) lie about it and guess the answer B) tell them you’ll phone back “the same day” with the actual answer”

    “Do you understand this career is not an instant gratification job and you must put long hours into it before getting rewarded? Yes/No”


    If the applicant answers;

    Over 1, B, what!? no I want money to buy avacado toast before work each morning! – Bin the resume

    1. BarryCollins01

      Completely agree.


  7. MS1

    18 years in the industry, I joined a forward thinking firm 2 years ago. I don’t wear a suit as I had done for the last 18 years. Smart trousers, jacket and no tie. It is so refreshing. Not just for us, but also for clients – so we are told by many. There maybe the odd client prefers the traditional suit and tie – I know my grandfather would have been one, but I do think today’s world is very different from when I first started. And do you know what, on a valuation against 3 other agent, I instantly differentiate myself against those in a suit. It is then up to me if I have the brand and quality to secure that instruction.

    I saw a group photo of my old firm recently – they too have relaxed their dress code, but where they have got it wrong is that in the photo 2 0f the 7 are in suits with ties and the others are not. Muddled thinking which goes further than just the dress code. Whatever dress code you adopt, make sure, along with all of your branding and marketing, that your message is clear and consistent.

  8. markbrev

    Another child stamping his feet telling the world it has to change to suit him and those like him.

    1. BarryCollins01

      I’m expressing the recommendation of CPR the company that employers need to change in order to retain and attract candidates. It’s almost a PSA from Barry, having had 15 years’ experience in the industry through which he’s gained this insight.

      Consequently, these aren’t my own views. I personally have no opinion on the matter.


  9. AgencyInsider

    Harrumph. Blinkin’ nonsense

    Bowler hat, brolly, cufflinks, tie pin, watch and fob, black suit with waistcoat, wing collar white shirt, tie, striped charcoal grey trousers, black shoes polished to the nines. That’s what the proper estate agent chappy should be wearing.

    And let’s have none of this silliness about having girlies in the business. World’s going to pot I tell you.

  10. james1984

    All for a smart casual look.  It would take away some of the stigma of ‘oh he looks look like an estate agent’ We’re not regulated and ANYONE can set up shop as an agent if they want.  Wearing a suit doesn’t turn you into a professional and I bet you wouldn’t lose an instruction because you weren’t wearing a suit!

    1. AgencyInsider

      You may never know if you lost an instruction because you didn’t wear a suit. Little things can mean a lot to a potential vendor. I once won an instruction on the strength of having asked if they would like me to take my shoes off on entering the property. No other agent had done so.

      1. SoldPal90

        Note to self: Replace socks with holes in…


        Shoes that are clean and presentable – trousers and open collar shirt is more than sufficient today.




  11. drakeco75

    If he’s so keen on being an estate agent then why not start up on his own!

    Then he wouldn’t have to conform to any dress code and could run the office as he sees fit.  Maybe he’ll find out that to run your own business you actually work more hours not less.

    Be interesting to see if he has a long and fulfilling career.


    1. BarryCollins01

      Again, I personally have no opinion on the matter. I’m happy to wear a suit, but I’m not an estate agency candidate… they may not want to.

      Also, where did you get the idea that I’m ‘so keen’ on being an estate agent?


  12. Special Agent 61

    When I first started in the business a long, long, long time ago my first  boss wouldn’t allow us anywhere near clients without a jacket collar and tie – the only exception was whilst portering in the auction department where the jacket was swopped for the porter’s coat.

    I appreciate ties change and smart casual is now the norm – fine but there need’s to be some definition of what this actually means. Sadly for some it means jeans around your …. scruffy tee shirt and trainers.

    The millennial generation needs to understand that although we live in an era of pool tables, flexi-time and communicating by any means other than having a good old conversation some old rules still apply. This is a business that needs people people and sadly modern technology is robbing this generation of these vital skills.

    The education system needs to step up to the mark and start delivering grass roots business skills alongside technology.

  13. DVJ

    Having just read this headline my immediate thought was “And I bet this opinion piece was written by some 19 year old student who has probably never had a job in his life”.

    Having clicked on to read the full article, I smiled to see the the sixth line confirming exactly what I had suspected.

    Personally I favour a shirt and tie, usually with a suit but equally with a sports jacket or blazer. Traditional and conservative – yes. Safe and dependable – yes. But I don’t think those are a bad set of values to project in a professional workplace where business is won on trust in the person in front of you.

    I think the suit-and-shirt-but-no-tie combination gives the impression of someone trying a little too hard to look cool and hip, but also suggests a degree of casualness that wouldn’t impress everyone.

    I remember about 10 years ago, terminating a job interview after about 3 seconds with some lad in his early twenties who had turned up for the interview in jeans and tee shirt, plus one of those enormous hollowed out ear piercings. I told him that if he couldn’t be bothered, then unfortunately neither could I.

    And yes, I am over 50!



  14. KByfield04

    I’m always fascinated by how dress code divides all traditionally suited professions. I’ve always despised wearing a suit and revelled not having to when I started base in 2004. I’ve attended meeting with clients in t shirts & trainers so many times I wouldn’t even bother counting, with people of all ages and backgrounds, with properties from council blocks to prime residences- and almost always win the instruction against an array of more established, older & suited competitors. As is often the case, the disdain and dismissal quickly offered on here is far more revealing about stuffy industry attitudes than the content of the piece- or the authors. I’ve hired staff who like to wear suits and do- and that’s fine. That’s because I don’t hire the outfit I hire the person. It’s their work ethic, intent & ability that matters- if they delight clients and do plenty of deals but like wearing shorts & flip flops I couldn’t care- because my clients don’t. Come on people, loosen up. If you honestly think your suit wins it- you either aren’t giving you or your staff enough credit or your clients……either way, that’s worrying.


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