Bottom Line: Employee engagement, equal opportunity, consistency with policies and approachable hierarchy are the tenets to make a employer attractive proposition. Track2Realty survey finds that all these key indicators of employer brand is less than desirable in the Indian real estate.
The Indian real estate may over-project a handful of young qualified professionals who join the sector as winds of professioanl change, the fact lies that real estate has never been a business that attracts quality talent and nothing much has changed over the years.
Young qualified professionals either do not opt for the sector, and even when they do so, they find it hard to continue in a business where the eco system is all about probability and uncertainty; forget about the lack of work culture. And hence, in most of the corporate offices of the developers it is easy to find old and grey-haired people than the vibrancy of the young work force.
A Track2Realty study finds that the median age of professionals in the Indian real estate is 45 years. It is in contrast to the 25 years of median age in IT/ITeS or 30 years in Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI).
The difference between ‘median’ and ‘average’ is that about half of all realty professionals are older than 45, and half are younger. In statistics and probability theory, the median is the numerical value separating the higher half of a data sample, a population or a probability distribution, from the lower half.
This is a problem but it is a problem that is not new. Becoming a real estate professional right out of high school or college is not all that common in India. Most of the realty professionals in this part of the world have had careers in other fields prior to real estate, the most common being in management, business and financial professions, followed by sales and retail.
Track2Realty researchers even talked to several professionals under 30 who do not have jobs, or who do not have the jobs matching their skill sets and those who want more. Still, they were unable to get any of them fired up about a career as a real estate agent or sales professional.
The objections they have start with the perception issues to work culture and even the lack of a steady pay check. They do not like the uncertainty of not knowing when the next salary day will be. The young professionals believe that even being an employee at a start-up company gives them more job security than being a real estate professional or a self-employed broker.
Even for youngsters who are career changers and have a few years of work experience, choosing to be a real estate professionals is a somewhat terrifying option. No one really knows if they can do it until they try, but the bigger concern is if they will be able to survive in such a disorganised sector.
The kind of energy, commitment and time it takes to build a real estate career, today’s young lot are non-committal for that. There are better career avenues in the market. It has never an easy job, even when the market was good. The slowdown in the last few years has forced many of young professionals to switch back to the previous sector.
Now that some real estate professional institutes have come up, no doubt there will always be small group of people who will choose real estate as their first career, but the sector in its professional culture does not seem to show any sign that recruiting efforts will cause an influx of young people to bring down the median age of real estate professionals.
Realities of realty employment
With median age of real estate professionals being 45 years, it defies the myth that Indian developers are attracting best of talent
Fair attraction to realty jobs due to higher compensation does not ensure retention due to absence of work culture
The other half of our study, with 45 plus who have been working in the sector have by and large different exposure, experience and baggage to be with this sector. Many of them after having failed in other professions joined the sector with only the money that the sector can offer in mind. They have no fancy expectations of a professional work culture, unlike the youngsters, and are not really bothered so long they are making decent money.
Track2Realtyanticipates the median age of real estate professionals will only go up as many of the retired and ageing people are opting to join the sector. But such professionals will mostly come on board as brokers; in some cases as consultants for liaisoning.
What the sector needs is to create a kind of sophistication in its functioning that encourages the young qualified professionals to join. This, in turn, will not only bring wave of professionalism in the overall functioning of the sector but also give it a much needed image makeover.
Developers, by and large, disagree that they have not yet emerged as attractive employers. Vineet relia, Managing Director of SARE Homes maintains that staff engagement is a must for any sector, particularly for real estate where human engagement is at the highest level. Employee confidence is directly proportional to optimal efficiency of the project. He insists that SARE Homes being a FDI funded professionally driven company is strict with their internal policies and processes.
“We have regular engagements with our employees by organising townhall sessions and internal events. This helps us in understanding the internal environment and helps to enhance the performance of our employee. The company provides equal opportunity for all and does not discriminate on any ground or matter whatsoever between two individuals or a group of individuals on unreasonable grounds related to employment or even for promotion. SARE has a decentralized structure, we don’t believe in hierarchy outrightly. Employees are open to share and connect with the management and address their issues right away when required,” says Relia.
Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group questions which are the other emerging industries where the employee retention has not been a problem. According to him, keping in mind the size of most of the real estate companies, and the nature of the business, the Indian developers have done better than many other businesses to attract the best of talent in the market. Retention, of course, is an issue but then it has to be seen in right perspective.
“The sector itself is not organised; we are not given industry status; and there are policy level challenges in adopting corporate governance. Collectively, this makes the professionals uncertain about the future. From my experience I can vouchsafe that if we are given a level playing field with other matured industries, our initial beginning is a testimony of the fact that we can emerge as one of the most sought after employment place. At company level, Hawelia Group enjoys the loyalty of employees who are with us for nearly a decade now,” says Hawelia.
However, most of the developers, on their part, know that their primary concern is to sell the inventory and considering the fact that there are always more real estate brokers than they really need, they are least bothered to inculcate a work culture that encourages influx of young people.
Real estate professionals are getting older because this is not a job that attracts young people, and it never has been. Some say the bar to entry in real estate is too low. That may be true, and it may be easy to join the sector but it takes a lot to stay in real estate. Youngsters are just not excited with the prospects of a real estate career, unless being forced to in absence of other viable options.
Next: Real estate fails to retain quality talent
Track2Realty is an independent media group managed by a consortium of journalists. Starting as the first e-newspaper in the Indian real estate sector in 2011, the group has today evolved as a think-tank on the sector with specialized research reports and rating & ranking. We are editorially independent and free from commercial bias and/or influenced by investors or shareholders. Our editorial team has no clash of interest in practicing high quality journalism that is free, frank & fearless.
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