Foundation Recruitment’s commercial real estate industry insights

The current global business climate is an unprecedented one. Never before have trends in technology, employment culture, and environmental, social and governance been driven so exclusively by a single, extraordinary event.

The commercial real estate outlook for the next 5 years

Two years of such upheaval has left it difficult to predict where the employment market will be in the next five years. However, whilst the near-term outlook for the commercial real estate industry continues to be impacted by the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on gathering for both work and leisure in the longer term the industry has a key place in the global recovery.

Key market trends

As companies seek to position themselves for recovery, to grow and to get back on track, demand for talent is extremely high. Overall, the number of UK job vacancies rose by over half a million from October 2020 to October 2021  and the commercial real estate industry is no exception thanks to its position as a bellwether of recovery.

Additionally, many in the workforce are reluctant to change positions at this time due to loyalty to business that have been supportive throughout the pandemic but also due to fear that the overall situation may continue to be poor.

This has led to a shortage of candidates entering the job market and ultimately to an excess of opportunities for those candidates that are considering a move. What is yet to be seen however is the full impact of the ending of the government’s furlough scheme with regards to an increase in job seekers and subsequent decrease of vacancies.

A major trend has been the shift in employee expectations that has been ongoing for some time but that has been accelerated by global changes to employment culture.  Whereas previously many were willing to adapt their personal lives to the demands of work and were willing to make sacrifices to obtain higher salaries, monetary bonuses and pension contributions employees are increasingly concerned with work/life balance and are attracted by incentives and benefits such as:

This is especially true for those who bear much of the burden of care, be it childcare or elder care.

Equally commercial real estate employers are refocusing and placing more weight on what they can do to provide for employees’ concerns. By emphasising their commitment to wellbeing and culture they ensure talent acquisition and retention. Measures such as:

What does the future of commercial real estate look like?

So, what does the future hold for the commercial real estate industry and its future employment growth? Despite upheavals the outlook looks positive, although it remains to be seen how further pandemic restrictions might affect the industry in 2022:

  • Hybrid working models
    93% of businesses anticipate changing to more flexible hybrid working models with only 5% intending to work solely from an office. Because of this we have seen a significant migration out of commercial offices especially in large cities which, although unlikely to remain permanent, will have a significant impact on the industry.
  • Steady demand for leasing experts
    In a related shift large numbers of neglected shopping centres and retail parks have come onto the market for low prices, leaving opportunities for landlords to snap these deals up and deliver exciting strategies aimed at those local communities. An Increasing amount of space to fill will lead to a steady demand for leasing experts.
  • Long-term development of retail and leisure parks
    During restrictions there was greater consumer appetite for community and convenience-based shopping and a move to hybrid and hub working models. These changes were already happening; however COVID-19 accelerated the pace of this change. The industry has responded with a long-term future development pipeline of refurbs, expansions and developments of retail parks, leisure parks and outlet centres.
  • Redesign of assets and change in tenant mix
    COVID-19 also accelerated the need for redesign of assets and change in tenant mix. Shopping centres were already moving to more leisure and lifestyle focussed strategies, but there has been an increase in co-working spaces, health centres, market halls and parcel services taking space in these destinations. There is an abundance of town centre shopping centres on the market, paving the way for landlords to buy, revitalise and repurpose.
  • Increased demand for industrial space

Whilst demand for office space experienced a pause during the last two years, demand for industrial spaces such as warehousing soared thanks to a growth in e-commerce as new companies sought to take advantage and physical stores scrambled to meet fulfilment challenges, shocks to the global supply chain and increased consumer demand for quicker delivery times. Demand for industrial space continues and space is in short supply. Many businesses are considering new leasing solutions such as overlapping on on-demand leasing or utilising unused industrial space.

  • Businesses office needs shift away from traditional demands

At the beginning of the pandemic employers were largely avoiding considering moving or renewing leases for office space leading to a slump in demand. Whilst a return to work has led this demand to recover the type of office space business are looking for has shifted away from larger spaces to smaller, more flexible spaces that allow for hotdesking and other remote working solutions. Businesses are also moving away from traditional leasing arrangements towards leases that allow for more flexibility.

  • Increased demand for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) specialists
    Pre-pandemic, ESG was already on the agenda. The pandemic has brought with it an increasing awareness of the environment around us and sustainability. Customers, investors, tenants – at every point of the relationship the client is looking for a focus on ESG. Each has the power to decide where to spend their money. Each wants smarter, more environmentally friendly spaces.
  • Ongoing boom in the residential housing market
    In response to the ongoing housing crisis, a boom in the residential housing market and the increase in underused commercial property there has been an associated uptick of investment and development in residential housing. Much investment is directed toward Senior housing developments in a push to free up existing family properties.

How Foundation Recruitment can help

At Foundation Recruitment, we are committed to delivering successful hiring outcomes and the highest quality of services in equal measures. Our approach is to simplify and improve your resourcing experience, whichever services offering may be appropriate for your hiring needs. If you’d like to discuss the current market or scaling your team, please get in touch with one of our expert consultants today – we’d love to hear from you.

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