Contact Us

Miami Has Become One Of Commercial Real Estate's Most Important Job Markets

The days of lockdowns and Zoom happy hours may be over, but the pandemic’s long tail has created permanent shifts in real estate demand, boosting Miami’s profile as the firms that opened offices in Miami begin to settle in and expand.  

The arrival of those out-of-state businesses has helped push Miami into a new echelon of American real estate job markets. The city captured 5.3% of all commercial real estate job listings in the country through the first half of the year, according to a Bisnow analysis of postings on the job board SelectLeaders. Prior to the pandemic, Miami typically had less than 1% of all listings. 


Real estate has a long history of driving the economy of Miami — the sector accounted for 21.5% of the city’s GDP in 2022, according to the nonprofit business group Partnership for Miami — but it has grown into a city of focus on a national scale.

This analysis is based on 58,000 U.S. CRE job listings on the SelectLeaders database since 2018. Overall, the pace of hiring in the industry has slowed dramatically as companies manage through the largest downturn since the Great Recession.

That pullback has also happened in Miami, where job listings fell from 85 in 2022 to 26 in the first half of 2024. But the pace of the pullback hasn't been nearly as stark as in other major CRE markets. 

Only New York and San Francisco have had more job listings in the first half of the year, and Miami had as many 2024 commercial real estate job postings through June as Phoenix, Austin, Houston, Boston and Seattle combined.

In 2018, Miami was beating out only Phoenix and Austin in total number of job postings across 12 major markets analyzed by Bisnow. Through the first half of 2024, Miami was ahead of eight cities and tied with Los Angeles. 

Miami was the only major city analyzed to show year-over-year job growth in 2022. While job postings in the city declined in 2023, Miami continued to outperform the national average and contract at a more moderate clip. 

Before the pandemic, placing candidates in Florida jobs accounted for less than 10% of CRE Recruiting founder Allison Weiss' business. Today, she said the state is mentioned in the same breath as California, New York and Texas. 

The pandemic “definitely did put more market and labor pressure on an already kind of challenging market,” said Weiss, who founded CRE Recruiting in 2019 after a decade recruiting at major firms.

She said while companies often come to her to try to find talent, it's not so easy in the Magic City.

The issue is that Miami’s talent pool “trends much older, is a later-career kind of executive level, and there’s much less in the early and midcareer kind of tranches,” Weiss said. 

Miami doesn't have a history of producing talent with financial chops like New York, LA and San Francisco. 

“New York, Northeast and California investors had moved into the market [during the pandemic], and they had a caliber of candidates they were looking for that was hard to identify,” said Kaitlin Kincaid, a senior managing director at Keller Augusta who oversees all of the recruiting firm’s placement efforts from her Boston office.  

Developers, private equity firms and the other major sectors that flocked to South Florida during the pandemic instead frequently import talent from other states. 

“We have a strong bias to hiring in NY even when working on South Florida opportunities because the pool of qualified candidates is still dramatically better for capital markets and finance in NY,” Simon Ziff, president of New York-based real estate firm Ackman-Ziff, said in an email.

Recent hiring in Miami has trended toward midcareer roles that require a few years of experience, while just under 40% of open positions require five years or more of experience. Businesses in the city aren’t looking to expand their roster with green talent but rather with new hires that can immediately start generating returns, Kincaid said. 

Firms want to hire “candidates that can jump in and be either a utility player or own some of the analysis if you’re an investment firm,” she said.

Some of those early-career professionals relocated to Miami during the pandemic, but Weiss said it’s still difficult to find a young college graduate with three years of experience. 

“You've definitely had an influx of folks that were maybe early to middle career, and so I think the market has balanced out a bit,” said Weiss, who runs her business from a camper van as she travels the country visiting markets where she is active. “It seems to me as if there's a higher demand for talent than there are folks searching actively.”

The lack of supply helped push salaries in the city to record heights during the pandemic as firms standing up new offices competed for talent. 

“There was always kind of an inverse supply-demand situation, which meant that compensation in South Florida was higher than it normally would be in comparison to other major gateway markets,” Weiss said. 

A new hire at a Miami real estate firm was starting at an average salary of $130K in 2023, according to SelectLeaders data, $12K more than the national average and ahead of New York and Los Angeles. 

It was a remarkable 27% increase in starting compensation over four years, but data through the first half of 2024 shows base salaries in Miami are retreating from the record high, in line with national trends. 

Miami workers have been more successful holding on to salary gains than other Sun Belt workers. Miami’s $116K average salary in 2024 is 12% lower than the year prior, but salaries in Austin fell 15% to $100K this year.

“The hiring market was so competitive to both attract and retain top talent that firms were paying a premium that, quite frankly, wasn't sustainable,” Kincaid said. “There's been a correction for market salaries in general.”

Recruiters are debating where the Miami job market heads next. Hiring rates have fallen precipitously as interest rates have risen, impacting South Florida along with the rest of the country. But Keller Augusta continues “to take on a high volume of assignments in Florida” and has seen an increase in demand for its services over the last two months, Kincaid said. 

Like the broader real estate industry, recruiters are eyeing the Federal Reserve for interest rate cuts that they expect will provide a boost to hiring. Miami has been outperforming most U.S. cities, but executives in the city are still waiting for the broader economic landscape to improve before expanding their teams.

Until then, Weiss said she looks at how much hiring is happening at construction, development and property management firms as a bellwether of what’s to come. 

Those jobs are the boots on the ground, and “they’re a great thing to look at as the overall indicator in the health of the market,” she said.

“Those job postings have gone down significantly.”