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Real-estate jobs at a premium

Published on Friday, 04 May 2012
Hong Kong’s thriving property market means skilled, experienced staff can expect higher pay.
Photo: Dale de la Rey

You don't have to look far in Hong Kong to find a poster advertising a new residential complex or a sign showcasing premium offices for rent. From the leasing of retail spaces to the sale of newly built apartments, the city's property market continues to be extremely busy.

This is creating extensive job opportunities for real-estate professionals working in different roles in various market segments.

"Many organisations continue to invest in Asia, and Hong Kong is often central to their plans," says Kerrie Doran, a director at recruitment firm Michael Page International in Hong Kong. "Demand remains high for skilled professionals in the real-estate area, with employers proactively seeking the best talent in the industry to support strategic growth plans."

Doran says there is a particularly high demand for real-estate professionals in the retail sector. Hong Kong's booming retail industry means many brands are seeking shop space. Property companies are recruiting extensively for roles in retail such as leasing, facility and property management, interior design, fit-out and renovation, as well as construction project management.

"These professionals are especially sought-after as the domestic retail industry continues to strengthen following an ever-increasing consumer demand for luxury brands," Doran explains.

Because of this demand, she says real-estate professionals working in the retail and consultancy sectors can expect above-average salary increases in the coming months.

Amy Walker, a consultant at property recruiter Judd Farris, agrees there is high demand for real-estate professionals in retail, remarking that she has seen a continual flow of appointments in this area so far this year.

Alongside this retail-driven recruitment, Walker says some companies are currently recruiting experienced professionals for positions in property investment.

"Although investment houses are cautious about deploying capital, they are increasingly looking to optimise and maximise on yield of assets or projects already held," she says. "This is resulting in mid-to-senior level hiring of asset managers and portfolio managers."

One company which is actively recruiting is the global real-estate firm Colliers International. In Hong Kong and on the mainland, it is seeking skilled real-estate professionals for a wide range of different positions across the company.

"We have registered a significant year-on-year growth and so our human capital is expanding along with our business," says Patricia Ng, Colliers director of human resources in Asia.

Ng says the company has opportunities in a wide range of roles including investment sales, leasing, retail, residential projects, valuation, research, and property management. The company's expansion means there is also the need for people to work in support roles such as marketing and information technology.

Due to difficultly finding experienced real-estate talent, Ng says the company has been recruiting fresh graduates every year through campus recruitment and a graduate training programme. These employees will gain on-the-job experience and be given extensive training to equip them with the necessary skills.

Colliers offers all of its employees extensive training opportunities. The Colliers University provides employees with extensive online training and live Webinar sessions, including courses in soft skills and seminars on industry-related subjects. Local offices also hold regular group workshops.

"This dynamic learning environment enhances the knowledge, experience and skills of our people," says Ng. "The investment we make in the development of Colliers University is second-to-none in our industry."

Alongside this, employees at Colliers benefit from the fact that it is a global company with 522 offices worldwide, giving staff the opportunity to work in different countries or the flexibility if they choose to relocate.

Ng says they look for candidates who fit in with the company's distinctive culture. They also want professionals who are good team players, with a spirit of enterprise, and who are keen to keep learning and developing their skills.

Across the real-estate industry, Walker says that companies are especially looking for employees with strong language skills - being bilingual or trilingual - and who have considerable experience working in Asia. She adds that in-depth knowledge of the domestic market is particularly desirable, and professionals who have this may expect higher salaries.

Doran forecasts that in the coming months, the region's property market will remain vibrant and that there will continue to be many job opportunities for different kinds of real-estate professionals, especially those with highly-prized skills.

"Hong Kong still has strong growth potential," she says. "Skilled professionals, particularly those who are multilingual and have experience across the Asia-Pacific real-estate sector, are likely to be increasingly sought-after."

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