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Cobalt's Diversity in Real Estate Construction Report 2023

Cobalt's Diversity in Real Estate Construction Report 2023

Our first of its kind, new 2023 Diversity Report into the Real Estate & Construction sectors in the UK is here!Building upon our previous research into diversity in the Real Estate and Construction markets, this full-length 2023 edition features insight into the age, caring status, disability status, ethnicity, gender identity, marital status, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic background of those who make up the sectors we recruit into. In the report, we compare the sector to national averages (from the 2021 Census) and break down our wider sector into specific segments for you to delve into; Real Estate, Construction, Accounting & Finance and Business Support & Real Estate Tech roles.We believe the report is a must-read for all those working within sectors to understand them better, but is of special importance to hiring managers, HR and Talent Acquisition professionals who need to understand the different backgrounds of the employees and potential candidates in the sector, so to be able to develop effective recruitment and retention strategies for the different groups identified in this report.Download your copy below now.​​

What does the future hold for the Construction and Real Estate markets? Insights from UK REiiF 2023

What does the future hold for the Construction and Real Estate markets? Insights from UK REiiF 2023

​I was delighted to be part of UK REiiF 2023 in Leeds.What a setting it was, proof that buildings do indeed exist outside of London! Evidenced by all the cranes on show, Leeds is a great example of a city benefitting from new investment, regeneration and redevelopment, with plenty of new mixed-use, BTR and student living developments in progress – themes that ran through the Forum as a whole. With the Government’s Build Back Better plan now in action, some of the Cobalt team and I visited UK REiiF to get a greater understanding of the progress, challenges and opportunities the built environment is facing over the next few years in the UK – here are our highlights.Community development key to BTR and PRS growthSince the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, society in general has fostered more of a community spirit, with genuine care for the places they live and the people that are living there. This, coupled with a housing crisis and an ever-increasing population, mean that it’s therefore unsurprising that new communities, the regeneration of existing ones, and the creation of infrastructure to support these was a key focus at the Forum.We learnt that the focus on mixed-use facilities, student accommodation, retirement villages and new houses (not ‘units’ as we were reminded in the spirit of these new ‘communities’!) will see huge growth in both the BTR and PRS spaces. Indeed, BTR has continued to expand across the UK in the last quarter, with 186 (49%) of all UK local authorities having BtR in their planning pipeline. While this initial growth may have slowed slightly in some regions of the UK, the number of BTR developers announcing schemes at UK REiiF showed that the opportunities in this sector are plentiful. Organisations like Coliving, Moda Living and Urban Splash are going to be similar to leading hotel operators in the near future – BTR and PRS developments that’ll become features and high street names across the UK’s largest conurbations.Many new partnerships and developments were actually announced as joint venture partners at UKREiiF, like Stockport MDC announcing a £250M development partnership with the English Cities Fund (The ECF - a consortium between Muse Living, Legal and General and Homes England) after a bidding contest. It was also announced ECF had been chosen by Bradford Council to deliver a new City Village comprising 1,000 homes in the Kirkgate and Oastler area of the city.Globally, we’ve seen this happening already in the United States, where the largest asset class for institutional investors is now in PRS. Compare this with the 2-5% of institutional investors that currently invest into PRS in the UK and you can see the immense growth potential – up to 10x if the forecasts on show at UK REiiF are to be believed. But for this to happen, such builds will need to suit both investors and potential tenants, whilst strictly adhering to new sustainable build requirements and commitments to becoming carbon neutral.Sustainability at the heart of new developmentsMMC (Modern Methods of Construction) was another huge subject at UK REiiF, discussing both their effectiveness and place in the new built environment.Should you prioritise sustainability in regeneration and new-build projects, or do you have to prioritise ESG? The regulations around the EPC ratings in 2025 and 2030 are not currently law so a lot of investors, property companies and other asset managers are often choosing not to always make every asset ‘net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’, as the governance is really only suggesting it rather than enforcing it. Regulation and governance were called out in a number of the sessions for not having specific enough guidelines so to ensure that in 10 years’ time there isn't a ‘carbon bubble’ forming. This idea, mentioned by Lydia Dutton, Director of Regional Sustainability at CBRE, would essentially be where assets aren’t created in the right spec for new regulations, and have their value wiped off in the market.It is perhaps this grey area in the green that is prohibiting a trend amongst all developers one way or another.Positively, green funds and investments are on the rise, with CBRE, LGIM and Lloyds talking affably about how developments that improve communities or have a more sustainable or net zero footprint can secure more preferential lending terms with them. However, the stark reality is that it’s only in the minority of lending that this is taking place - CBRE IM for example only has one Green Fund doing these investments. Green shoots for investment and job opportunitiesBrilliant talks from the likes of Jessica Pilz, Head of Sustainable Investing at Fiera Capital, on sustainable futures, social value and communities were incredibly popular with attendees at UK REiiF. Their organisations are being seen as trailblazers and now true experts in the ESG space in a short period of time, showing how a dedicated commitment to it can reap rewards. Indeed, we’ve seen how the change is influencing the real estate space ourselves, setting up our own dedicated ESG team in Spring 2022.Asset managers will be keen to improve their portfolios and ensure that they are part of this evolution. Demand for these ‘net zero’ and ‘carbon neutral’ retrofitting's and new builds from occupiers is 50% higher than the supply of such builds – meaning that there’s a deficit that needs to be filled.How we plan for these changes, pay for all the work that needs to be done to get there and actually complete these projects will create many, many more job opportunities and the chance for some to reskill in a ‘green job economy’.It’s something that both people and planet are demanding and shows little chance of going away.Other talks with partner organisations to the Sector like Real Estate Balance, Freehold and Regeneration Brainery were also incredibly popular at UK REiiF and again show a changing, more inclusive environment coming through in the sector - one that’s got a lot of positives in it for people and planet.So, while there was very little talk about the future of office spaces and other key components of the built environment, we’re energised for the prospects in construction and real estate over the next years.With such demand and change on the horizon, particularly in the BTR, PRS and ESG spaces, it’s going to be critical for both candidates to know what skills are expected of them, and for clients to be able to effectively recruit for these roles as projects come up, but also with regard to their overall branding and EVP (Employer Value Proposition)to ensure that they continually have talent in their pipelines. Cobalt are a specialist recruitment and consultancy business, with 22+ years of experience delivering search, recruitment and HR advisory services to the Construction and Real Estate sectors. We pride ourselves on our work across the full spectrum of the built environment that includes real estate investors, working with REITs, funds, private equity and investment banks, to property companies, landed estates and developers, as well as real estate advisory, corporate occupiers, management and maintenance, main contractors and local authorities.To find out more about how we can help with recruitment requirements across the above, please get in touch with me or any of our team leads below:Regional Real Estate: Maria Sinclair, DirectorReal Estate and Capital Markets: Tom Enefer, DirectorESG and Sustainability: Olivia Marsdale, Associate Director

APC Final Assessments – Our Guide

APC Final Assessments – Our Guide

With the APC Final Assessments now in full swing, we take a look below at the key areas you can focus on to make sure you’re best prepared to succeed. ​We don’t doubt that you have your revision and study plans in place but, with the overall pass rate hovering at around 60%, we wanted to pull together a few valuable resources and advice that could help with your interview.1. Know what to expectWhile the official RICS YouTube Channel can be a useful platform for trending topics and conversations around best practices and innovation, we’ve heard from many of our candidates that it’s perhaps not the best available resource to give you insight into what to expect in the interview. Many have recommended an unofficial YouTube Channel called RICS APC Guide that features an incredibly useful mock interview that focuses on anticipated questions for 2023’s exams. 2.Practice, practice, practiceIn the run up to the assessment, take as many opportunities as possible to practice the Q&As and a full mock interview. This could be with your mentor, with your peers sitting in on their own Q&A’s and mock practices, or with paid external coaches like Property Elite, or a specialised provider for specific pathways, like the APC Accelerator from The QS Company for Quantity Surveyor exams. Lionheart can provide a free practice session on presentation styles and overcoming nerves, as well as a variety of confidence-boosting free webinars. Whatever resource you use, make sure that you’re using something that’s been updated for this year as some of the details in the assessment do change year on year.Finally, even recording yourself answering questions and then listening to your responses will be excellent practice, and rehearse your case study presentation against the clock to ensure it meets the 10-minute time allotted.3. Understand the structure of the final assessment interviewOne hour might SEEM like a long time to be facing the panel, but understanding its structure can help you tackle each part in turn. By breaking it down, you can “eat that elephant” one bite at a time and not be daunted by the prospect.Firstly, there will be a few minutes of introduction, checking equipment and surroundings – first impressions count so think what you will say when the assessment starts. There’s then 10 minutes for you to present your case study, followed by a further 10 minutes of questioning on it. You’ll then move onto the assessors’ questions for 25 minutes and the Chairperson’s questions for a final 10 minutes. Before the close, you’ll have a chance to ask any questions you have as well, so make sure that you’re making use of the blank sheet and pen you’re allowed during the exam, jotting down anything you want to come back around to here. 4. Prepare for common questionsVirtual assessments are just like in-person assessments when it comes to the questions that are asked. Research common interview questions and prepare thoughtful and concise responses, and practice speaking clearly and confidently, ideally with another person to give you feedback. This assessment is to see whether you are fit to join RICS as a professional body, so an overall understanding of RICS and their recent policies, appointments and even scandals would be useful. In addition to this, the RICS study guide will provide you with specific questions and model answers for 2023. 5. Test your equipment Before your interview, make sure your technology is working for you. Check your internet connection, camera and microphone (it’s better to use a good quality headset than just rely on the laptop microphone) to ensure that everything is working properly. Also make sure your device is fully charged/have a charger nearby just in case - and turn off email notifications or other apps to avoid distractions. If it’s the first time you’ve used Teams, conduct a test call with a friend or family member to check the quality of your audio and video, and make sure again that you’ve rehearsed presenting your case study presentation on the platform in your 10-minute time limit. A final tip would be to ensure that you have your case study presentation saved to your device in case of any technical issues when presenting it.6. Choose a quiet and professional environmentMake sure you choose a quiet, well-lit location for your interview. Avoid noisy or distracting environments, and make sure you won’t be interrupted by family members, roommates, or pets. It’s also a good idea to remove any clutter or personal items from the background, as this can be distracting for the panel. You will be required to show the panel the room you are in to confirm that you are alone and no one is helping you, so prepare for them to “look around” - use this as a chance to create the right impression. On this, ensure that your attire is professional and matching what you would expect your assessors to be wearing, even if you are doing this from the comforts of your home. 7. Be mindful of your body languageEven though the assessment is online, your body language is still important. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact, and avoid fidgeting or looking away from the camera. You might feel more confident standing, in which case bring your laptop to a level where it's framing your face, not just the top of your head! This will convey confidence and professionalism to the panel.Just remember they have been in your place - they want you to succeed, so take a deep breath and take your time. 8. Listen carefullyOK, so this might seem a bit obvious but it is important to listen carefully to the panel's questions and take your time to formulate your responses - a short pause before you answer is fine. Don't rush your answers or interrupt the panel, and instead be thoughtful and articulate in your responses - the assessors will ask if they want you to expand on any answer.If you’re unsure, ask them to repeat the question. This will allow you to ensure that you’re answering what they’re asking correctly. If you feel there is a point which needs clarification, don’t be afraid to ask.9. Take the night before off….As with any exam or test, last minute revision or rehearsing is not likely to make the difference between passing and failing – that'll be down to the hard work you’ve put in in recent weeks and knowledge gained over the past two years. So, find something to do the night before which is relaxing and restful, be that light exercise, meditation, reading a book, or spending time with friends and family. You want to be fresh and energised from the first moment of meeting that panel through to when you confidently sign-off and say goodbye with those RICS letters firmly within your grasp! Good luck!​

Earth Day 2023: How does it impact the real estate and construction industry and how can the sector support it?

Earth Day 2023: How does it impact the real estate and construction industry and how can the sector support it?

​Earth Day is celebrated globally on April 22nd to raise awareness of the critical role we all play in safeguarding the environment for future generations.The World Green Building Council stated that “Buildings are currently responsible for circa 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions: 28% from operational emissions, from the energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.” Learning how to make the sector more greenIt is clear that the industry’s impact on the environment is still an important issue at next month’s UKREiiF. Over a dozen sessions are being held on the need for the industry to continue to act to produce a greener future. Some panels to note are: • Creating Opportunities for Nature• Decarbonisation: The Cost of Inaction• Designing a Thriving and Sustainable Future in Leicester & Leicestershire• Going Beyond Net Zero – Key Steps for Investible, Clean Growth• Greening The Built Environment – What Needs To Happen and Who Needs To Do It?• Beyond Net Zero – The Path to Success for Sustainable Development• Financing Net Zero – Who's Going to Pay?• A Place-Based Cluster Approach – How to Adopt Net-Zero Technology?• Net Zero Buildings: A Practical Guide to Making it HappenThe goal to reach net zero by 2050 continues to be a challenge, while “the energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions”, the real estate and construction sectors have their part to play in tackling climate change. The sectors have the dual task of reducing carbon emissions both in the creation of new buildings and retrofitting existing ones.Practically addressing the environmental challengesHowever, both sectors have made significant strides towards minimising their impact on the environment and promoting sustainable practices such as:1. Implementation of green building practices: Incorporating green building practices by using energy-efficient materials, designing buildings to maximise natural light and ventilation, and using renewable energy sources like solar power.2. Waste Reduction: Strategies to reduce waste have been implemented such as using recycled materials, reducing packaging, and promoting recycling and composting.3. Use of sustainable materials: choosing sustainable materials for construction, such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, or recycled plastic.4. Promoting green transportation: Encourage employees and customers to use public transportation, bike or walk to work, and offer incentives for carpooling.5. Supporting local initiatives: Partner with local organisations working to promote sustainable practices in the community, such as environmental nonprofits or community gardens.6. Promoting energy conservation: Encourage the use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and heating and cooling systems in buildings.While green building practices can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts associated with building construction and operations, they won’t mitigate them entirely and Earth Day serves as an important reminder of the responsibility we have to protect our planet for ourselves and for future generations.As a professional services company, Cobalt neither manufactures anything nor has significant physical operations to manage. Therefore, we know that already we're in the lowest 10 percentile for emissions, but we absolutely must do our bit too - whether that's looking at procurement from coffee pods through to energy providers, recycling facilities or travel arrangements - we are looking at all areas of our operations to reduce emissions further. We'll be looking to our supply chain to demonstrate their commitment and to our employees to consider what more they can do to reduce scope three emissions too.Continuing the conversation at UK REiiFWith the new regulations around compliance by 2025 and 2030 putting pressure on the real estate market, we are leading the search for senior ESG professionals, sustainability managers, ESG/Energy analysts and other roles that are important to both the environmental and social impact the sector is havingI look forward to seeing you UK REiiF between 16th-18th May, click here to book in a talk with me and the team at the conference.

An insight into Ramadan

An insight into Ramadan

​About 25% of the world follows Islam, so it stands to reason that Ramadan is a big deal around the world both spiritually and culturally, and yet there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about Ramadan and its true meaning of it among many non-Muslims in the UK. To celebrate and share more about Ramadan, I wanted to get insight from Cobalt’s own Hamza Khan, who joined us in 2021 as an Associate Consultant on our Facilities Management team. I was interested to learn more about the most important month of the year for Islam and why non-Muslim people will often focus on the fasting aspect and don’t always appreciate the faith. Megan: What is the significance of Ramadan in the Islamic faith?Hamza: In short, Ramadan is one of the most important months for anyone in the Muslim faith. It is the ninth month in the Muslim calendar when the Qur'an was revealed to the prophet Mohammed. Ramadan above all else is a time for reflection and spending more time with your loved ones; you’re encouraged to increase your prayers and recitation of the Qur’an during this holy month and to be more charitable and kinder to others. M: People tend to know about the fasting element of Ramadan, but what other activities take place?H: There are five pillars in Islam – faith, prayer, charity, fasting and hajj. Fasting is the fourth out of the five pillars and by not eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset we aim to increase awareness for less fortunate people around the world, and in turn, appreciate what you do have in your daily life. But there is much more to Ramadan than refraining from eating and drinking – in fact, that’s the easiest part! It’s also about controlling one’s emotions and thoughts.Many Muslims attend the mosque and spend several hours praying, we recite a special prayer, tarawih – the night prayer – this is in addition to the five daily prayers which are obligatory in Islam. We tend to spend more time with family, attend larger gatherings when opening our fast, eat together and appreciate loved ones. You are also encouraged to increase charity work this month. Ramadan is also the best time to become closer to God, to increase compassion, patience, kindness, and our good deeds. The aim is not only to cleanse your physical body this holy month but to nourish your soul. It is a month of unity for Muslims around the world to spread kindness and charity. M: What questions or comments do you usually get during Ramadan that you would like to change the perspective of? H: The three main things I usually hear from others are:People tend to feel sorry for me - but they don’t realise that this is the most exciting time of the year, it's when we come together as a family and community, striving to become a better version of ourselves spiritually.People eating in front of you – please don’t worry about that, it’s part of the discipline element. It's a test. 'Not even water' - no! Nothing between sunrise to sunset. The act of fasting is meant to be a reminder of the less fortunate and a time to appreciate what you have. Instead of looking into the not eating aspect, we could look to frame it in a positive light. Fasting is not a time when we are starving, being miserable, or constantly thinking about not being able to eat. We focus on many positive things, this is such a big social time, sharing, unity, giving and sharing faith with the Muslim community and local community. Ramadan is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. As well as fasting, Ramadan is a time of celebration and joyfulness. This holy month ends with a festival, Eid, this holiday celebrates the end of the fasting period. This is marked by starting off with a massive congregation at the mosque for an early morning prayer. The rest of this holiday consists of feasting, giving and receiving gifts and spending lots of time with your loved ones. Eid reinforces the core reason why we complete Ramadan each year, how are all equally rewarded for the sacrifices and disciplines we make. M: I’ve seen a lot of useful information around this year on LinkedIn and newsletters about how we can support friends and colleagues who are taking part in Ramadan, and most of it comes back to being compassionate, patient and understanding – many of the same principles that are important in the Muslim faith during Ramadan. Remember that your colleagues may need more breaks throughout the workday to rest or to pray, keep open communication with them and ask if you can support them, and give encouragement to them throughout the month to acknowledge and appreciate this act of faith.Thank you to Hamza for sharing with us about Ramadan and how we can all reframe this from a period of fasting to a festival of community and giving back. Ramadan Mubarak to our Cobalt clients, candidates and colleagues celebrating Ramadan and Eid. ​

Cobalt holds second Cobalt Conversations: the power of inclusive language

Cobalt holds second Cobalt Conversations: the power of inclusive language

In January, Cobalt hosted its second Cobalt Conversations event, a series about diversity, equity, and inclusion, this latest event focused on inclusive language. The aim was to analyse and understand the impact of using inclusive language and discuss the challenges people are facing in approaching the ever-changing discourse around diversity, equity, and inclusion.Charlotte John, Director of Client Solutions at Cobalt, hosted the panel who each brought their own perspectives and areas of expertise to the afternoon. Blessing Buraimoh is the Head of DE&I, EMEA Workforce Advisory for JLL, and whose passion for leadership and its role in DE&I was apparent. Chelsea A. Jackson, Political Scientist and founder of think tank The Equity Architects, has experience in a variety of projects on racial equity across private and public sector. Jennie Child, founder of inclusive recruitment consultancy Balance, focussed on the importance of language to attract and retain talent. The event was powerful for those guests in the room, and Cobalt were delighted to be joined by some key clients as well as some fellow Real Estate Balance members. There were opportunities for genuinely open discussion on aspects of language that had been holding progress back and we wanted to ensure that guests left with direct actions they can implement.  Why is inclusive language important for DE&I strategy? Often it feels like there is a DE&I elephant in the room when specifics are left unsaid or overarching terms like ‘diversity’, ‘dominant groups’, and ‘ethnic minorities’ are used. It’s either that we don’t really know what we are referring to, or that we are scared to say the wrong thing and cause offence, embarrass ourselves, or at the extreme end of the scale, be called out. At a corporate level this can be the equivalent of discrimination cases, getting bad press, high attrition, and could ultimately affect the bottom line.Language is a powerful tool that allows us to express what is happening around us, and this power can open doors, or it can close them when used in the wrong way. Our panel reminded us that the only reason language truly matters is because of how something might land with its audience. We can’t expect everything we say to be interpreted by someone in the exact way we intended, so we need to be intentional, transparent, and respectful with our communications. What can companies do to adopt inclusive language? Psychological safety.Creating psychologically safe workplaces to encourage people to be vulnerable about their challenges is the foundation of inclusion. This is important for both underrepresented communities as well as dominant groups – it’s imperative your employees can be open to express concern or query someone’s language, but equally as important that other employees can safely put their hands up and say they aren’t sure what words or phrases they should use when it comes to identity. ‘Dominant groups’ is often a coded phrase in companies referring to the people who are white, cis-gendered, straight, and for some organisations that will include men – but it will be different for every company depending on the make-up of your employee base.Context is key.We need to ensure that using descriptors about protected characteristics or other identity factors is truly necessary – referring to anyone by these when it’s unnecessary or unhelpful to the topic of conversation is a microaggression and it’s only serving to remind someone of their differences and cause divide. For example, in legal contexts, or in diversity monitoring, this is valid, or if someone has a disability this may come up at work as a practical discussion to ensure they have the appropriate adjustments in the office or to attend a meeting. But someone’s sexuality likely has less relevance in the work context, so why is that being raised in conversation? Similarly damaging is if it is being used to identify the person, such as referring to a ‘gay colleague,’ when someone would not refer to a ‘straight colleague’.Be transparent. As a company and at individual level, you need to be transparent about where you are on your journey. People don’t expect everyone to be an expert, but they want to know that we’re all trying to move toward equity. People will be more understanding of someone who admits they are still learning and messes up, rather than someone who pretends to know everything and then makes the mistake. Utilise networks. Use networks like LinkedIn to seek out and follow groups, people and organisations who will keep you informed with the latest best practice. Language constantly evolves so don’t think that you can read a long list of ‘politically correct’ phrases and your homework is done.​​We share our upcoming events with our clients and Real Estate Balance membership, if you would like to receive invitations and haven’t been, then please let us know so we can make sure you’re included in future Cobalt Conversations events. Or to find out how Cobalt can support inclusive hiring for your organisation and other initiatives we are running to promote representation and inclusion in the Real Estate industry then please get in touch with Charlotte John or Megan Bond.

Cobalt’s exclusive report on Diversity in Real Estate & Construction Recruitment

Cobalt’s exclusive report on Diversity in Real Estate & Construction Recruitment

​A tool to provide a greater understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion in Real Estate and ConstructionAt Cobalt, we know that diversity should be a priority for all organisations in the real estate and construction sectors. That's why in 2022 we developed a new diversity survey sent to candidates, capturing as much detail as possible about those who are job-seeking in these sectors. Now, we can harness this data to produce quarterly reports to share with all those focused on improving DE&I. Our goal is to provide clients with the understanding and analysis they need to improve their diversity and create more inclusive workplaces.We are proud to say that our survey is the first of its kind in real estate and construction and gives exclusive insight into the presentation of job seekers across these sectors. By taking part in our survey, candidates have had the opportunity to contribute to the conversation around diversity and provide data to those involved in recruitment, enabling real-world action to be taken. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who have already completed our survey. Their contribution is invaluable, and we hope to encourage even more candidates to complete the survey in the future. By doing so, we can ensure that our findings are as representative as possible.Our first Diversity in Real Estate & Construction Recruitment Report provides a comprehensive analysis of the representation of those job seekers in terms of age, sex, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnicity, disability, caring responsibilities, and marital status. Since creating our survey, we’ve learnt more and had feedback directly from candidates, which has led to us adding a question about gender, in order to differentiate between gender and sex as well as a question focused on socio-economic indicators. These two aspects will feature in our future reports.The data-led report is an invaluable tool for clients looking to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, providing data for comparison and benchmarking against their own targets and ambitions. It provides insight into diversity of applicants throughout the recruitment process from registration to CV sends, interviews and offers, and what representation looks like in different sectors such as real estate, construction, accountancy, and business support. Finally, by cross-referencing our diversity data with our salary data we see diversity across seniority levels in the sectors.We hope this powerful report provides a useful tool for those across the real estate and construction sectors who are serious about improving diversity in their business. They can identify areas for improvement, implement best practices, and make meaningful changes that will have a positive impact on diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace.We are committed to playing our part in creating more inclusive workplaces and helping clients achieve this. As an important step towards this we have made our Diversity in Real Estate & Construction Recruitment Reports available to all for free, so download your copy of our exclusive survey by clicking below, or request a copy from your consultant today.If you already partner with us for your recruitment, you could also benefit from reporting that is specific to your recruitment processes. If you are interested in seeing this data for your organisation then please contact Charlotte John to find out more.​Download your full copy of the 2022 Diversity in Real Estate & Construction Recruitment Report here.​

The UK Real Estate Market: Understanding it & the diversification of opportunities

The UK Real Estate Market: Understanding it & the diversification of opportunities

With the uncertainty around the Real Estate market within Europe, there is a perceived idea that this is not the time to pursue a career within the UK, but this is not necessarily the case, and here’s why: Over the past 12 months, despite the uncertainty in the market, we have seen a focus shift towards new emerging markets with increased investment activity, arguably creating more opportunity than before. InvestmentOver the last couple of months, we have seen an increase of roles within the investment space, especially with the more opportunistic private equity firms and developers. With the decrease in the value of sterling, we have seen a rise in activity around foreign investors in the market who are looking to pull the trigger on their investment strategy around Q1 next year and therefore have seen an increase in roles within this space. Emerging Asset ClassesWith coverage across multiple assets, the rise and fall of specific asset classes have changed over the last year. In the last 6 months, Alternatives (Purpose Built Student Accommodation, BtR, Hotels) has piqued the interest of the top investors and has become the next emerging market with real growth potential. After a halt in growth plans in the PBSA market over covid, the resurgence is clear to see, and an area which provides great value moving forward. Asset ManagementThe volatility of the market has also led to a shift in direction of hiring priorities for other areas of the market, such as your more stereotypical Core/Core+ Investors. With cautiousness around new investment opportunities, we have seen an influx in roles within the Asset Management space due to employers looking to consolidate position and draw value from the existing portfolio. With this new strategy in place, there is a high demand to find high quality Asset Managers with experience across multiple assets, and therefore ample opportunity within this space.ValuationsAs one of the most stable skill sets, the demand for experienced valuers is as high as ever, with a distinct lack of high quality candidates within the market, there is a real demand to get talent from overseas as well as domestically. This not only has created opportunities for people looking to move to the UK, but has seen an increase in salary across the market, and makes it the perfect time to enter the valuations market. This is what I am seeing in the Real Estate market at the moment; contact me on 020 7478 2546 to discuss how you can take advantage of it in 2023. My colleague Nicole has shared some great insight on the Interim Finance market for 2023 here if you are interested in what is happening in the market more widely.

The UK Interim Real Estate Finance Market: Understanding it & the diversification of opportunities

The UK Interim Real Estate Finance Market: Understanding it & the diversification of opportunities

Accountancy and Finance interim recruitment has had its strongest year to date at Cobalt in the UK, more specifically here in London, despite the drastic change we have seen. With the implementation of IR35 in 2021, paired with the effect of Covid and lockdowns on border closures, it looked as if the demand for interim specialists and those wanting to stay within this specialism was about to drastically reduce.How did our Accountancy and Finance Real Estate interim team then have our busiest and most successful years to date (2021 & 2022)? Real Estate is one of the safest industries to move into, often called “recession-proof”, as projects typically have a longer life than most, sometimes spanning decades. Recent periods of lockdown meant that crucial projects were put on hold and resources were significantly reduced within finance teams across real estate and construction. This left the market wide open for interim Accountants to be parachuted in as specialists to drive change and get the job done. A business will always need Accountants, whether the market be strong or weak. With this urgency from hiring managers to get an interim specialist into the team, we saw a turnaround in roles of as little as 24 hours. Interims from a practice background, with strong reporting skills, are a key asset for managers running projects – projects that have potentially been on hold for over a year. Managers simply did not have the time to run these projects as well as go through a 3-month permanent recruitment process and the many months involved in training permanent staff that follows.Many hiring managers who typically only considered having an interim on board as a last resort, for example, to cover last-minute sick leaves, notice periods or maternity leave, have now seen the importance and benefits of getting a professional interim to join their team, with the majority offering extensions or permanent roles at the end! Why is now the perfect time to move over to London as a Qualified Accountant? This year, following the “trial” for many businesses of having to use immediately available Qualified Accountants on an interim basis, we have seen interim candidates become a preferred solution to permanent hires. With borders opening back up and a fresh influx of immediately available Qualified Accountants moving over to London, we don’t predict a decline in this trend, in fact, much the opposite.It is true that the implementation of IR35 initially halted interim hires, however, the dust has now settled and from consultations with interim recruiters, we can see that both clients and candidates now understand the changes: rates have been adjusted accordingly and checks put in place. With an uncertain market around the corner, the preference for interim hires over permanent hires is set to continue within finance teams across London. We see this every time there is a downturn in the economy.There couldn’t be a better time to be a Qualified Accountant wanting to move over to the UK. This is what I am seeing in the Real Estate market at the moment; contact me on 020 7478 2518 to discuss how you can take advantage of it in 2023. My colleague Ollie has shared some great insight on the Real Estate market for 2023 here if you are interested in what is happening in the market more widely.