Estate agents struggling to attract and retain staff as job vacancies grow

Estate agency is enduring a strange period, with many companies struggling to fill vacancies, while a number of existing employees are on the lookout for a new job, new research shows.

Some observers may expect the estate agency sector to be hard hit by the economic downturn, but fresh data shows that vacancies in the sector are increasing as many companies struggle to hold on to staff.

Rayner Personnel, a well-established estate agency recruitment firm, has crunched some numbers from a December survey of 5,000 UK workers by Reed, the employment data analyst, as well as some specific estate agency sector figures, and found that 47% of employees are considering changing their job in 2023. Moreover 50% say they ‘hate their boss’.

Reed data says that there are currently 2,540 live property jobs available, including many agency positions, and 1,975 were posted in just the last 30 days.

Rayner Personnel reports that it has registered more estate agency jobs in the first two weeks of 2023 than in the entirety of November and December.

The recruitment specialist says that salaries are also on the rise, with companies prepared to pay more for top talent, illustrated by the fact that average salaries for estate agency branch managers and listers now exceeds £40,000.

Josh Rayner

In 2022, there were 229 estate agency jobs advertised with salaries more than £100,000, and in excess of 1,100 at over £50,000.

The Reed Salary Survey also says that 26% of UK employees are unhappy with their salaries. Some 61% say that their pay has not risen with the cost of living of late.

Tellingly, 36% believe that they could be better paid elsewhere. Whilst 36% would also like a four-day week as a main incentive to move roles this year. The same number additionally favours a ‘flexi-time’ approach.

Josh Rayner, CEO of Rayner Personnel, said: “Some agents may stagger into the New Year with a rain-cloud over them fearing that the current market means poorer prospects for them now. However, the data shows that there are plenty of roles available throughout the industry for those willing to consider a move. Good companies are paying better money to attract top talent too – things are buoyant.”



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  1. leelee30

    Yes been advertising for months, set on 6 members of staff in 4 months and they didn’t show up on start date,  pay was too hight got my liking but needed the staff.

    Just sent a text to me on “stating  sorry took another job, or will you increase my starting pay to 35k” for 25 hours work WOW!


    Demanding to the employer, I am not experienced but you have to train me in your own time: not mine.
    you have to give me 40 days off holidays, you have to provide me a car, you have to let me use my mobile when I like and do my shopping in office hours.

    you have to let me work at home 2 days a week out of 4.

    oh and if I don’t feel like coming into work then so be it!

    Are bosses now the under DOG!

    what is going on!

    I was appalled by this  behaviour!



    1. A W

      For a couple of decades now agents have been poorly treated by both employers and clients. I do not begrudge them trying to get the best deal possible.

      Pay peanuts get monkeys. To attract good staff, you must also provide a good package. A company must work for an employee as much as the other way around… its a new world out there. Although I will admit the entitlement can be somewhat excessive.

    2. jan-byers

      I bought my first house as a negotiator of 21 years.

      How many 21 year old negs  could do that

      1. A W

        20 years ago property values were roughly 4 times the annual salary…they’re now double that. From around the 1920’s until around 2000 this roughly held true. However since 2000’s house prices have continued to increase and roughly speaking are around 8 times the annual wage of someone (more like 10 times in places like London).

        …so no, I do not expect a 21 year old now to be able to afford a house nowadays.

        1. jan-byers

          Exactly so they are going into better paid jobs

          1. A W

            Apologies, I meant I do not expect ANY 21 year old to be able to afford a house other than a very select and privileged few.

            You’d need double the salary of 20 years ago and there aren’t many jobs willing to pay that much for a 21yr old.

  2. jan-byers

    EA is a low paid job these days

    1. EGIL

      Often incentives are in place for those who wish to work hard.

      This market will weed out the weak.


      1. jan-byers

        What incentives?

        Do they pay the mortgage or for food?

        Sorry but the fact is EA is a low paid job.

        I read recently that the average salary for a negotiator is less than 30k

        When I was a manager in Reading in the early 80s I was earning a bit under 50K.

        I had negotiators aged 20-25 whom were earning 25-30k.

        Fully expensed car (including petrol all paid for).

        As for weeding out the weak it is the weak who are left.

        These who are not weak are in better paid jobs.


        1. EGIL

          Commission 🙂

          1. jan-byers

            There has always been commission

      2. EGIL

        Jan, The average house price in the mid 80’s was a little over 30K, I’m very jealous of your mega earnings from the era. You must of owned a Ford Capri Ghia and been a sought after chap/bachelor (if not married). Great to hear about the ‘good old days’! Not all agents are weak and Jan, some still love their jobs I’m sure but appreciate its a general view.          

        1. jan-byers

          Had a Ford Orion 1.6 rather than the XR3I LOL

          Reading was  mega busy office with 10 negs and 2 full time listers and 2 sales progressors

          1. EGIL

            Brilliant, good times I’m sure.


  3. Mark Scobey

    Having just done a quick scrape of Rayner Recruitments positions available, there are 187 property roles and 185 stating a salary.

    3.2% (six) are advertised at £100,000 or above.
    21.3% (forty) are advertised at £50,000 or above and below £100,000.

    The average advertised salary is £38,654
    The median advertised salary (a more accurate reflection) is £35,000

    ONS (October 2022)  workforce data shows the median annual salary across all industries is £33,852.  The same data set has Real Estate Activities’ median salary at £31,772 meaning that the ONS view is that property jobs are below the national average!

    It might be that Josh’s claim that “Good companies are paying better money to attract top talent too” has a hint of truth with his client’s offering 9.6% above the industry median and 6.3% above the national median across all industries.

    There is an elephant in the room.  Looking at the top-level SIC codes for business classification, Real Estate sits 13 out of 24.  Finance & Insurance is top (£65,276) is top with industries such as Minin (£62,125), IT (£52,770), Professional (£48,407) and Construction ( £37,135) in the top 10.  Health (£27,084), Education (£26,557) and the Arts (£24,557) all sit below.

    The point is that Real Estate has sat as a middle-earning industry for the last 20 years.  Given the employment choices now available, it’s not surprising that finding quality staff is a challenge.  I suspect that some of this in part is due to the educationally low barrier to entry versus an increasingly more educated workforce…but that’s a whole different debate!!

  4. Woodentop

    Well this is saying something ……… Moreover 50% say they ‘hate their boss’.


    A fish rots from the head down! Certainly I have seen changes over the decades and all sorts of probable causes but without a doubt if you don’t like your boss, it doesn’t matter how big a salary you get and if being paid peanuts …… no big surprise why people leave. I have seen attitudes eroded since the early 1990’s target, target, target syndrome instigated by the big corporates with constant staff turn over, advent of the on-line only brigade fee war’s with high streets cost cutting to compete (suicide) in recent years.


    It takes a special kind of employer today to keep staff motivated and not while they are out for the day (on the golf course!). A good business strategy with visible street credentials, personality, empathy for employees and lead by example. As far as staff are concerned, a fair pay for a fair days work and an enjoyable environment.  If you have none of these factors ….. you are probably in the list of staff wanted.

  5. jeremy1960

    A lot of any sales staff earnings is commission. 20+ years ago I worked for a medium sized agency with a basic as a manager of £25,000 pa, house prices were much lower, 2 bed modern house was c£45,000 on the main estate, the key though was commission, I think I got c12% of office, we charged 2.25% sole agency. On that 2 bedroom house the fee would have therefore been c£1000, my share £120. That same house nowadays is probably worth c£300,000, had fees kept up, the fee would now be c£6750, in reality with the crumbling of fees, that fee is likely to be only £3000. With inflation, that £3000 is probably not worth much more that the £1000 was in 2000. Had fees remained solid my 12% of the commission now would be c£800. I  remember in my last year I earned c£30,000 in commission, again had commission remained firm that figure nowadays would be c£200,000.

    Estate agents are their own worst enemies allowing the likes of the online agents to bully them down in fees, the question now is does the industry have the experience to train staff to get better fees and earn more money?



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