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Key Factors of Employee Retention in the Real Estate Sector

The recruitment and retention of well-qualified employees is a growing concern for experts in the real estate sector.

Balázs Boskó, Recruitment Consultant, Hays Hungary.

The tables have certainly turned: candidates of high professional value tend to have three or four on-going applications, and they are not afraid of salary negotiations anymore. What may be even more surprising is that, in several cases, it is not the salary package that plays the most important role in their final decision. This article aims to unfold some keys factors, that significantly contribute to employee recruitment and retention in the real estate sector. There is more to this than first meets the eye.

One of my candidates was an expatriate who wanted to relocate to Hungary after several years in Germany. I introduced him to a couple of clients and I remember calling him after an interview: “I have seen better container offices on the construction site than their office building. There is no way I am going to work for them,” he said. Interestingly enough, the salary conditions would have been far better, than his original expectations: competitive base salary, bonus, company car for private use, fringe benefits – the whole package. Eventually, I placed him at a renowned real estate developer – for a smaller salary, but with a freshly refurbished office building with green technology.

A site manager candidate of mine stated the following: “I would gladly exchange my wide range of fringe benefits for a company car.” Site managers have to shift between construction sites and they often face overtime, especially during the handover period. Even a pool car system results in serious time-loss that could be spent with the family.

A project manager once said to me: “Your client is well-known for strict EHS standards and a wide range of benefits. I would gladly be part of that team.” A junior project engineer highlighted that professional development on big projects would be the number one priority for her.  

So what are the morals of these stories? That a good salary package alone is not enough to attract high-qualified candidates. The working conditions send a serious message to potential applicants about how the employer might treat its employees. HR managers and CEOs have to carefully analyze the potential needs of each position when putting together a salary package.