Starting my eighth week at Foundation Recruitment, it’s been an interesting beginning to say the least. The last two months have seen not only incredible change in the real estate industry, but the world.
I joined Foundation Recruitment to lead and grow the London Real Estate team. The recruitment industry like many others has been almost silenced in the last few weeks and my business plan going into the company has been changed significantly, as you can imagine. Instead of immediately looking to hire three more Consultants over Q2, I have furloughed my team for the immediate future; it seemed the most sensible action to take given the inevitable slow down and practical cessation of activities with our clients. We have every intention of returning to full strength and then growth in line with the inevitable – if somewhat cautious – improvement in the investment markets in the months to come.
Speaking to clients across the board, very few companies feel confident enough right now to add salary costs and headcount to their remote working teams. Remote onboarding has been a unique phenomenon for most of our clients, but seems to have been successful for some of our new starters recently, albeit strange. Understandably the new starters cannot (easily) settle into the prevailing business culture they have joined; as it is very hard to carry that into remote environments.
Encouragingly we are beginning to speak with some clients who are now starting to build their strategies around the pricing and investment opportunities in the medium term that will come from these unprecedented events. An example would be two logistical investment and development clients highlighted last week that they are actively acquiring at the moment. According to Savills, take up of industrial & logistics space (100,000 sq ft+) hit 7.95 million sq ft in Q1 2020. This is 24% above the long term quarterly average, and certainly looks positive for the sector. It makes sense though, due to ‘lockdown restrictions’ the consumer shift towards online retail is continuing to underpin the market. It’s likely that this pandemic will have real bearing on the ‘just in time’ logistics model going forward, which will in turn have impact on certain real estate sectors. It will be interesting to see how this all permeates through.
As we all await the confirmation of an extended period of lock down, we have already started to make our plans for once restrictions start to become lifted. Clearly we do not have all of the answers and without a doubt as a business we will need to adapt and change as the landscape clears in the coming weeks and months. However we remain convinced that real estate will have a significant role to play in the recovery and we look forward to playing our part.
I hope everyone remains well and safe.