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Despite Recession Prediction, It’s Not The End Of CRE Hiring As We Know It


Going into 2023, the U.S. economy is still in a place of uncertainty and a recession is far from off the table. A December Bloomberg poll of economists forecast a 70% likelihood of a recession, up by 5% from the previous month. 

Before taking any drastic measures in response to recession forecasts, commercial real estate professionals should closely examine 2023 hiring trends and take time to carefully plan their next steps. By connecting with SelectLeaders to gain access to resources and executive recruitment services, CRE hiring managers and employees can navigate the changing economy and make smart professional decisions in any climate.

Bisnow sat down with Katie Hart, senior corporate recruiter at SelectLeaders, to discuss the CRE job market performance in the midst of uncertainty and why CRE professionals should not make any swift plans to abandon their long-term goals.

Bisnow: How did the economic downturn impact CRE hiring in the second half of 2022?

Hart: In the second half of 2022, the news has showcased more conversations about rising inflation, high interest rates and a looming recession. In late October, November and early December, major CRE companies started announcing staff reductions in order to combat declines, whether it be in investment, sales, lending and other transaction revenue, as a way to manage costs. 

However, despite this outlook, there’s still a need for hiring, particularly in multifamily as well as in operations and sustainability across all asset classes, and SelectLeaders has been working with clients that need to fill roles as soon as possible. From our perspective, an economic downturn has been affecting certain businesses in 2022, but there are also others that have been in growth mode and are continuing to thrive. 

Bisnow: Which CRE sectors may increase and decrease hiring in 2023?

Hart: We’re anticipating more of a demand for portfolio managers, asset managers and analysts in 2023, likely across all asset classes but especially in the multifamily sector. If a company is unable to acquire additional properties, it makes sense for them to maximize the properties they have. This is where bringing on additional asset managers and analysts to maximize profitability becomes a must. 

Sustainability, which has been trending for the last few years, will also play a large role in the future of CRE. In times of economic uncertainty, sustainability is not only a cost-effective method for property operations, but it's also necessary to slash carbon emissions, which means a rise in ESG and sustainability jobs. 

On the other hand, we are not anticipating a rise in the tech sector, but we’re not wholly pessimistic about its future. During uncertain times, tech companies cut lower-level staff in favor of automation, offshoring and utilizing consultants or other contractors. However, as companies strategize for the future, we may see additional openings to support overall operations. Tech opportunities won't be completely gone. They just may not be as robust as what we saw in 2021. 

Bisnow: How would CRE be impacted in the event of a recession? What steps can employers take to ensure they’re able to keep their top talent?

Hart: I think it can go one of two ways. In the event of a recession, employers can either continue with layoffs or pause hiring and take a closer look at which operational roles should be a priority to fill when they have the capital. If a company can avoid layoffs and is instead able to restructure talent until things stabilize, it would be a more effective approach. However, if employers take this route, they need to be clear on work objectives, so employees don't feel overwhelmed. 

Employers should make sure employees feel supported in uncertain times. When candidates are undervalued, they are often open to speaking to a recruiter and exploring opportunities. I would also encourage employers to provide more flexibility during this period to combat burnout. This provides an opportunity to get employee feedback and see how you can make the job easier. 

Bisnow: What advice do you have for hiring managers and candidates as they navigate economic uncertainty?

Hart: I would advise hiring managers to still think long-term. Whether they had to put a pause on hiring or make reductions in staff, they need to keep in mind that economic uncertainty doesn't last forever. I would recommend doing more to keep current employees happy and engaged in their work, but also think about what future growth will mean for their organization when things do turn around, and still think of a game plan for that time. 

For candidates, the market has definitely shifted. At this time last year, it was very much still a candidate’s market, and to an extent, it still is, but at the same time, there are also fewer openings. Employers can be a little bit more choosy than they were a year ago. 

That being said, I think the best thing for a candidate to do is to update their résumé and make sure that their job history reflects quantifiable data about how they performed in their job. They should also be leveraging their personal network and setting their LinkedIn pages to be “open to work,” something that recruiters use a lot to search through the candidate pool. And then lastly, if they haven't already done so, candidates should utilize platforms like SelectLeaders to post their résumé for employers to view and reach out to them about different opportunities.

Connect with SelectLeaders recruiters and learn more about your options throughout this period of economic uncertainty.

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