The Leaking Bucket of Talent

The Leaking Bucket of Talent

A talent shortage within the residential property sector is becoming increasingly noticeable.

It is fair to say that more and more employers are now looking at retail, telesales and other sectors to reach fresh talent. Over the past 13 years that I have been in property recruitment, there have always been more jobs than candidates, with each candidate receiving on average up to three job offers.

So what’s the solution?

Employers need to be smart in their recruitment approach and look at similar service industries such as the retail sector to identify energetic, ambitious and dynamic individuals who have the potential to become exceptional agents. However, this approach comes with both positives and negatives.

The positives are that it would slowly clean up the ‘white-socked brigade’ – journeymen agents (male and female) who jump ship every 12 months from company to company for an earnings guarantee. I also believe that in some parts of retail, individuals are more customer-focused and when it comes to driving up quality of customer service and overall standards in the industry, this can only be a good thing.

The negatives are that while many skills are transferable, only a select few from outside the industry will have what it takes to sell or let properties. Even those that have the aptitude to be successful would need comprehensive training on the intricacies of the job, as well as what they need to do to be compliant. Larger organisations tend to be better equipped to accommodate this approach and can offer formal development plans and dedicated training in-house to staff who are new to the industry. Independents, on the other hand, may find it more difficult to provide the same level of support without using an external training partner.

One of our clients has indicated that staff retention is up by 75% through recruiting and training individuals “out of sector”. In doing so, the firm has not only met an immediate recruitment need but also created a new pool of future managers for their business.

A note of caution here: Training up inexperienced recruits is not a quick fix and it is likely to take 12-18 months or more for agents to see the rewards.

With the average retail worker commanding an £18,000 to £20,000 basic and, in some circumstances, additional commission, salaries can also be an issue. Agents need to take this into consideration as the national average for a negotiator still stands at a basic salary of £15,000 and OTE of £20,000. One possible way to resolve the difference in salary is to offer an initial pipeline builder or earnings guarantee to ensure you attract the most promising individuals and retain them. This also has the benefit of instilling a focus on the individual’s long-term career within the property industry.

The Leaking Bucket of Talent