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News & opinion

15 MAR 2019

How to attract the next generation of property leaders

Laura Lindberg RICS

Laura Lindberg

Head of Media & Communications, Europe

Brussels, Belgium


Young property sector leaders have urged senior role models to embrace new strategies to attract new talent into the profession.

Speaking at the MIPIM Young Leaders Summit in Cannes on 13 March, a group of young, successful property leaders outlined how talent could be attracted by a new, positive version of the profession, based on highlighting personal experiences and the profession’s contribution to society.

The industry is currently struggling with a lack of new talent, as technological changes and new skills bring about business transformation. To attract people with emergent skills requires a change of mind and professional adaptation.

Harnessing industry role models

The summit suggested that younger generations are increasingly looking for inspirational role models, good mentoring and quality advice. Getting insight from successful property professionals can be a great introduction to the profession. Harnessing the passion and experience of senior professionals with experience of improving and shaping the built environment will help attract and retain talent.

Trust young people to have answers: give them a legitimate say. Reverse mentoring in tech initiatives ensures the community and economy are fit for the future.

Deborah Cadman
chief executive, WMCA

“The property sector needs to promote and better explain to young people what it offers: in terms of personal growth, the variety of roles and disciplines, and creativity, but also looking at the real value professionals in this sector bring to people,” said Žofia Voda from Skanska in the Czech Republic.

“Real estate is not about selling. Every professional has a role to play bringing benefits to citizens and the community. However, there are still some barriers to overcome.”

Increasing collaboration

To attract future talent, the industry should be less fragmented and more open to collaboration between different disciplines and generations. New technologies and a sense of community will help here. Opening accreditations, such as RICS status, to a more diverse group of professionals with different skills and knowledge is a must. That is why, for example, RICS is looking at new pathways to offer its AssocRICS, MRICS, FRICS accreditations.

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New approaches to recruitment

Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO, explains the importance of embracing diversity to attract new talent to the surveying profession.

Embracing innovation

Being more innovative will improve the perception of the industry among younger generations. An important aspect to bear in mind is the importance of embracing the digital era and being less afraid of new technologies that can help the profession become more efficient and innovative. At present, the sector is not innovative enough and over time new, soft skills will be in great demand.

Innovative models to foster connectivity and collaboration in real estate are still in their early stages. According to a recent global survey by EY, the construction and real estate industry is far behind others in terms of the investment in technology. Although approximately 25% of respondents to the survey have a digital strategy and agenda in place, only 9% felt were on the high end of the digital readiness scale. This was despite 98% of respondents believing that digital solutions will be critical to the future viability of real estate and construction companies.

MIPIM Young Leaders Summit 2019
Panellists at the MIPIM Young Leaders Summit

Improving diversity and building trust

Young people are also looking for flexible, open-minded employers who respect their autonomy and encourage diversity and inclusion; respecting and integrating different disciplines, generations, genders and social backgrounds.

An example of how doing this could be a ‘win-win’ approach for employers is mentoring and collaboration between senior and junior professionals: both sides of this exchange would surely learn, develop new skills and benefit their businesses.

“Trust young people to have answers: give them a legitimate say,” said Deborah Cadman, chief executive, WMCA. “Reverse mentoring in tech initiatives ensures the community and economy are fit for the future.”  

Defining purpose

Finally, new professionals need to be able to find their roles. According to Bernardo Asuaje, managing director at Grupo Attia, “we need to have a purpose to be in a company and understand our role to make a difference”.

Organisations, like RICS, can play a key role in fostering collaboration and diversity, as well as opening new pathways and learning opportunities for young surveyors.

Laura Lindberg RICS

Laura Lindberg

Head of Media & Communications, Europe

Brussels, Belgium


Laura has worked for RICS since 2007 and she is in charge of developing and maintaining a proactive media relations programme to raise the profile and credibility of RICS in continental Europe. She ensures accuracy and consistency of communications in cross-cutting messages to different audiences, provides support in the preparation of material for key delegates and dispenses newsworthy information to media and PR agencies.

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