An expert in estate agency recruitment has called for bosses to be more open minded about hiring people from outside the industry – and giving staff more pay, and a better work/life balance.
Anthony Hesse, managing director of Property Personnel, said bosses should stop paying people “what they think they can get away with”.
He also warned that today’s staff simply won’t tolerate a long hours culture plus weekend working.
Hesse said: “We have to recognise that estate agency is currently experiencing the worst staff shortages in a generation.
“Finding new personnel is difficult because there are not as many people applying for jobs in the sector as there used to be.
“So we desperately need to find a way not only to retain the talent we have, but also to bring staff into the profession who have never even considered estate agency before.
“My first suggestion is to be more open minded about recruiting trainees from outside the industry. However attractive it may appear to be to employ only those with sector experience, you are in danger of excluding those with excellent potential and transferable skills from other professions.
“Just because they haven’t been an estate agent before doesn’t mean they don’t have the makings of an excellent one in the future. So you should widen your search, to bring these people into focus for the first time.
“Secondly, you need to make sure you show new employees a clear career path.
“It’s so easy to fall into the trap of recruiting for the moment. But the best employees will be asking themselves what their working life will be like in two, five, even ten years’ time.
“So in order to secure their interest, you should outline how you will help recruits develop and realise their potential.
“This makes sound commercial sense too – as the saying goes, ‘If you want to grow your business, you need to grow your people’.
“Finally, you must get their working conditions right. Whilst it’s not all about salaries, they are still important. So you should pay your staff what they are worth, not what you think you can get away with.
“That means recognising and rewarding your high achievers accordingly.
“But it’s also about the work/life balance – and expecting your staff to work excessively long hours and every Saturday will not only hinder your recruitment, but also make it harder to retain your top talent.
“Get it wrong, and they’ll walk.”