Its safe to say that 2020 has been a year full of surprises and challenges. For the real estate sector, these challenges may still be evident for a lengthy amount of time after COVID-19 passes.
Recruiting through lockdown
When the pandemic was declared, I saw many property developers and consultancies freeze their recruitment plans. This was evident over all sectors and not just property. In addition to recruitment freezes, we saw a few companies announce mass redundancies in a bid to offset the effects of a possible UK recession, and this is still happening.
On the whole, we saw many areas in the private sector hit severely by the lockdowns, and the property sector was one of them. Construction and property development is a challenging sector to implement social distancing while maintaining the highest levels of health and safety on site. With the restrictions allowing construction sites to open and work safely, we saw a big push on residential sites that went live and the housebuilders pushing them to get sold as soon as possible, to improve cash flow.
Watch the video: find out what I learnt over lockdown.
Property and recruitment post-COVID-19 and beyond
As lockdown has eased over parts of the UK, employers are keen to get the ball rolling on recruitment where they can. However, even with the technology available, decisions are often being made in face to face meetings, rather than over video calls, in some cases.
The candidate market is very busy with highly talented property professionals with many years of experience under their belt. We will see employers want more experienced candidates for less than the previous 5-6 years of salary fluctuations.
Candidates motives for moving jobs and companies are changing, and we will see aspects such as job security, location, technology on offer, business pipelines, flexible working, diversity and inclusion policies and culture being the forefront of candidates requirements.
“Candidates are looking for security and peace of mind.”
Developers and consultancies will be actively seeking new ways to work and move forward with their business plans and pipelines. This will include implementing new technologies, software and systems to ensure day to day tasks of the business can be carried out effectively and efficiently.
Property and office space post-COVID-19
Throughout lockdown, companies have had to shut their doors to the public and their employees — some have almost shut their office space down entirely after realising that working remotely could work for their business.
This will be a test of the adaptability of a business if we don’t see lockdowns completely lifted and life goes back to some level of pre-COVID normality. Traditional companies will want all their employees working from the office even if they don’t have physical requirements to be in the office as it can help to maintain their culture and developing more junior employees who learn through meetings and receiving advice first hand.
Companies who are more adaptable will create hybrid working environments or stick to working remotely. This type of working pattern will see more meetings happening in coffee shops and client or site offices.
We could see shared office spaces, struggle to implement rigorous and effective health and safety policies. How would they track and trace visitors effectively, how will they implement highly standardised cleaning schedules and ensure visitors are adhering to the guidelines set out? Those are just some of the questions that are being asked.
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