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Agencies & People

As the unemployment rate hits 4.8%, what about the property industry?

The Negotiator asks two of the industry's leading recruitment firms to assess the jobs market for estate agents now, and in the coming months.

Nigel Lewis

property industry

Job losses hit the headlines yesterday when official figures revealed a significant increase in the number of people losing their jobs during third quarter of the year.

Some 314,000 people were made redundant, pushing up the headline rate to 4.8%, or nearly 1% more than at the same time last year.

But the figures didn’t reveal what’s happening within the property industry within which, it is estimated, some 60,000 to 70,000 people are employed including sales, lettings, property management and auctions.

Josh Rayner, founder of Rayner Personnel, says jobs available across the board within the property industry have recovered to their pre-Covid levels, with sales negotiator roles the most numerous (see below).

Roles % Of Available Jobs
Sales Negotiator 18%
Property Manager 9%
Lettings Negotiator 8%
Self-Employed Agent 7%
Sales Negotiator/Valuer 7%
Valuer 7%
Account Manager 6%
Sales Progressor 6%
Branch Manager 4%
Lettings Manager 4%

Anthony Hesse of Property Personnel (pictured), says: “Estate agents are still recruiting, but largely for certain roles and those tend to be business support for both lettings and sales – so property management and sales progression, at the moment.”

“The other role agents are looking to fill are fee earners. But perhaps more interesting is the kind of people registering with us for jobs.

“We’re getting a lot of people from retail and airlines looking for a new career in the property industry. Also, we’re seeing quite a few more senior people.

“This layer of the industry, which tends to be more managerial than fee earning, has faced more job losses during Covid than other grades.”

And the future?

“Invariably we will see some redundancies as estate agencies adjust to a post pandemic world.  I’m also sure they’ll be further branch closures from the largest corporate agency group,” says Rayner (left).

“But property transaction numbers are looking stable and positive for the next 12 months; estate agency is weathering the storm well, and we do seem to be resistant to the pressures effecting other sectors such as hospitality, retail and travel.

“Clients are telling me it’s all about hiring top talent right now and motoring on to make 2021 their best year yet.”

November 11, 2020


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  2. Houses prices have never in history followed unemployment up, it’s always inverse with an average 9-12 month lag (with out intervention); which is autumn 2021 ish. Then write this article again.

  3. Unemployment, is an interesting topic, traditionally national unemployment dampens a housing market removing a tranche of buyers, and with over 2M on extended Furlough until March the true picture of redundancy may not reveal itself until Summer 2021.

    On the positive, in the real estate game a lot of those who have ‘left’ agencies are looking at ‘self employment’ models, buoyed up by the realisation that tech can enable them to go it alone and maybe a physical office is not essential.

    We live in uncertain times, and against a backdrop of Brexit and Covid-19, this has never been truer, and with the acceleration of the digital age, there are as many opportunities as things to fear, the UK like the rest of the world is getting to grips with a brave new world, and as WFH is showing, the way things are being done can change in a few months.

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