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Business Support Managing Consultant, Suzie Hamilton gives an update on the Real Estate Business Support market.
How has COVID affected the Real Estate industry?
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has hit the Real Estate Industry hard. Retail and leisure have suffered the most and direct commercial real estate investment fell 29% globally, according to JLL. With that said, it is not all doom and gloom. In fact, after catching up with my clients over the last couple of weeks, it is apparent that companies remain positive, shifting their focus and keeping up-to-date with market intelligence more than ever, in order to come out of this and rebuild even stronger than before.
How are companies shifting focus?
Investors are diversifying portfolios and looking to sectors such as the industrial/alternative assets for example, due to the continued rise of e-commerce.
Digitalisation is also something that has become critical over the last few months. For example, COVID brought about a need to be able to do virtual viewings, valuations, meetings and more, due to travel and social distancing restrictions. Companies who already had a focus on this pre-COVID are some of the businesses who have come out of this stronger.
Focus on flexible working spaces.
How will this affect recruitment?
Yes, the industry has been affected, and recruitment is a lot slower than this time last year, however, construction and residential development has resumed after long delays and specific areas/ clients I am seeing recruitment resume in are;
Investment management companies with a focus on repurposing buildings
Retirement living developers
Is Business Support recruitment 'business critical' now that companies are tightening their purse strings?
Although it is undeniable that some struggling companies are making redundancies and won't be replacing those roles, there are others that are and will still be recruiting as they start or continue to grow. From a business support recruitment perspective, Office Managers are becoming even more of a business-critical role, due to the need to ensure that workspaces are COVID secure and adhering to regulations. As new businesses emerge, marketing and PR roles will be important in helping them get exposure. Property management is an area that will always be critical, especially now people are spending so much time in their homes. If you are a PA who has experience in that area, that is even more desirable to employers as we are seeing at the moment. Customer service/customer engagement is also an area that is more valuable than ever.
Administration and organisation will always be the backbone of any business and there will always be a need for Business Support roles. The focus of the roles may shift slightly, but the need for them is not going anywhere fast
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