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Many Corporate Real Estate Pros Expect Sizable Raises for 2020 Performance

Many corporate real estate professionals expect to get a double-digit raise in 2021.

Few real estate employees would point to 2020 as a personal highlight. Yet many corporate real estate professionals will gladly take the double-digit salary increase that roughly 40% of them expect is coming their way, per a survey by CoreNet Global, a significant bump considering the challenging year.

Conducted by CoreNet and Ferguson Partners, the survey found that 38% of respondents — representing 122 large corporations across the U.S., Asia, Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — expected a 17% salary rise, capping five years of continued salary increases. Despite the impact the coronavirus pandemic had on many industries, many real estate pros who were able to navigate the challenges of lockdowns, remote work and shifting office dynamics expect to be compensated handsomely. 

“While the pandemic necessitated a temporary shift to remote work, many companies are now considering how to permanently expand their virtual workforce,” Ferguson Partners Managing Director of Compensation Consulting Austin Morris said. “This allows firms to consider a wider range of talent, including those not living near physical office locations.”

Between 2018 and 2019, annual cash compensation and total cash remuneration leapt from $256K and $307K to $462,900 and $658,969, respectively. It’s the biggest increase in the history of the survey. Cash compensation had maintained relatively steady before 2019, hovering around roughly $275K, before shooting up in 2019.

This salary increase stands in sharp contrast to the CRE industry at large. A  survey of 400 firms conducted by CEL & Associates at the end of 2020 predicted that salaries would improve industrywide, albeit slightly, and at a slower pace than in recent years. CEL forecast executive pay would rise by 2.6% in 2021, and overall, salaries would increase between 2.4% and 2.7%. CEL & Associates CEO Christopher Lee also predicted annual bonuses would likely be down between 20% and 30% from the prior year.