Staff turnover in estate agency driven by the search for higher wages

Annual staff turnover in the property industry sits at almost 30%, with the most common reason given for leaving a job being the search for higher earnings potential, new research shows.

The cost of living in the UK is on the rise while salaries remain largely stagnant. As a result, many people are, in real terms, poorer now than they have been in a long time. One way in which many of us are combatting this situation is to try and find new employment opportunities that pay more money which inevitably leads to companies dealing with heightened staff turnover.

To understand how staff turnover is affecting the property sector, Nested, which operates a franchise model for self-employed agents, carried out the research, measured the industry’s turnover rate in comparison to 20 other major industries, and commissioned a survey of UK property professionals to understand what exactly is making them leave one job in search of another.

According to the latest government data, the average annual staff turnover rate – in which an employee leaves one company to work for another – across the 21 UK industries studied is 29.3%.

The highest turnover rate is seen in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector where it stands at 35.6%.

In real estate, turnover is 27.8%, placing it bang in the middle of the pack.

This means real estate has a smaller staff turnover rate than the likes of health & social work (29.7%), construction (29.5%), and education (29.2%), but higher than sectors such as manufacturing (27.4%), financial & insurance activities (26.9%), mining & quarrying (26.6%), and public admin & defence (24.2%).

Nested surveyed almost 300 members of the real estate industry to gain a better understanding of what they believe drives staff turnover among UK property professionals.

The results show that turnover is very much being driven by the employees themselves rather than employers. In fact, 81% of respondents said that they believed turnover is being driven by employees jumping ship, while just 19% stated it was down to employers laying off staff.

It seems that economic conditions have little to do with the ebb and flow of staff turnover, with 54% stating that turnover is higher during periods of subdued market activity, and 46% saying it increases at times of boom.

As for why staff are leaving, the most common reason is the search for higher salaries, as stated by 36% of industry respondents; followed by looking for a better role (16%), stress of workload (16%), and the search for a more flexible work/life balance (11%).

Some 9% say that turnover is caused by employees looking to pursue new careers outside of property, 8% think it’s about escaping toxic work environments, 3% say it is caused by staff relocation, and 2% observe that colleagues are leaving to go self-employed.

When asked what factors they think would help reduce staff turnover in UK property, 18% pointed towards more flexible work patterns while 16% said companies could better trust their staff to do the job without the need for micromanaging.

A further 16% suggested that consistent and reliable pay rises would help ease the situation, while bonuses (16%), a better company culture (12%), openness to constructive feedback from staff (9%), travel expenses (6%), and healthcare (6%) were also cited.

Alice Bullard, MD at Nested, commented: “It’s clear from these results that estate agents want and need better pay. Staff turnover is not about market feast and famine, nor is it about redundancies. Instead, it’s about earning potential, flexibility, lifestyle, and the sense that they’re being trusted to do the job well.”



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  1. TDGC

    Another sales pitch?

  2. nickk25

    Seriously PIE you are starting to lose credibility here. Articles like this should have a “Advertisement” disclaimer.


    “Your comment must not defame an individual or entity nor bring them into disrepute. It must not promote a business or contain hyperlinks to other websites. Comments breaching these terms may be removed.”



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