Marketing, Communications & Business Development Recruitment in the Property Sector – Analysis and Trends

This last year has been a very active one for business operating in the Property Sector. From Developers to Consultancies to Engineering and Construction firms, we have seen constant movement across the support functions. This has been driven by two opposing factors working in tandem: restructures and recruitment freezes from some firms, and positive growth at mid-to-senior levels from other firms. All in all it made for a very exciting – if a little unpredictable – year to be in a marketing, communications or business development team in the Property sector.

  • Marketing, Digital & Communications roles:

Manager and Senior Managers have been in high demand, with candidates often having multiple similar, competing roles to choose from. This drive has been led by the more agile and contract-savvy Developers, who have been bringing on multiple hires on 3-6 month contracts, usually with a plan to extend. With the perm recruitment market booming as well, especially across Residential and Retail Developers, this has made it a very busy time indeed. Digital is also starting to take more of a centre stage, with the B2B Property, Engineering and Construction firms looking to hire at the top end as well as the mid-levels to enhance their online presence and tie digital closer to marketing at a strategic level. PR roles have made a resurgence this year as well, with firms looking to professionalise and streamline these functions and make them more strategic. Brand roles have been few and far between however.

  • Business Development, CRM & Bid roles:

Possibly the quietest of the areas for Property firms this year, with only a few of the larger Consulting firms growing their BD and Bid teams. A scattering of mid-level roles were on the market, but these faded away across the board, with firms seeming to prefer the marketing and digital avenues when allocating their budgets. To put this in context, the previous year saw a lot of BD and Bid roles on the market, so this could just be a natural balancing out this year.

  • Salaries and Flexible Working

The Property sector has always had a positive reputation for salaries over the years, and it is by nature a commercial and sales-savvy environment where tangible bonuses are commonplace. Whilst the average hiring salary for managers and senior managers has remained pretty flat this year, there has been a lift in salaries for the Head Of and Director level hires across the board, making it a very competitive and attractive sector for senior candidates to move around in. Flexible working is also a regular part of working life in the Property sector – with the caveat as always that Property is a hard-working and sometimes out-of-hours-working industry. Flexibility below 4-days-a-week has been scarce, with the most common offering being a full week with a day from home, or a 4-day working week (the latter carrying a salary pro rata reduction with it of course).

  • Candidates and Available Talent

Property has always been a specialist market that requires head hunting and often Retained Search in order to unearth the best candidates. This is partly because of the lack of candidates in general compared to the roles (some have moved to other related industries, leaving a bit of a talent gap), but it is also due to the very specific requirements of the different Property sub-sectors when they are hiring. For example, Developers will often want candidates from a particular Residential, Commercial, Regeneration or Retail environment that matches their markets, so the opportunity for moving based on transferable skills has taken a back seat to the need to bring in candidates with specialised market/industry knowledge. The Consultancies generally take B2B specialists, whereas the developers are more of a B2C environment in terms of marketing and communications. This climate has made it even more critical for companies to streamline and speed up their recruitment processes, and make sure they come across as welcoming and engaging throughout interviews, as candidates have been quick to walk away knowing more roles are likely to come up before very long.