As Property Personnel’s Managing Director, Anthony Hesse, says, “The estate agency industry is in a staffing dilemma”. The continuing uncertainty around Brexit, alongside its effect on the housing market, has led to mounting staffing difficulties within estate agency.

Many agencies are feeling inhibited by the continuing Brexit delay, which is resulting in staff shortages and a big question mark over whether or not to hire new recruits to replace them.

In this article, we delve into the most prevalent issues facing estate agency as the ongoing Brexit debate intensifies. We also explore how estate agents can adapt their job offerings and hiring process to attract and retain a well-skilled workforce, even amidst current political uncertainty.

Staffing shortages and estate agency: the main issues

In addition to the Brexit delay, estate agency careers also seem to have become less desirable for job seekers, but why is this? Here are some of the contributing factors:

Work/life balance

Striving to achieve a successful work/life balance is a quest many industries find challenging, and estate agency is certainly one of them.

While some staff will find working long hours enriching, even at weekends, others may find this prospect less appealing.

Non-traditional working hours are a pre-requisite for working in estate agency, due to many clients wishing to view properties during evenings as well as on weekends. Additional hours are also expected when looking to close property deals. Many agencies also don’t offer lieu days for a weekend day worked, a significant factor impacting upon work/life balance.

Starting salary

Lower basic salaries may make it difficult for prospective candidates to consider positions in the estate agency industry. Despite many agency positions offering commission to boost lower salaries, the overcomplicated structures can be off-putting, especially coupled with unrealistic on target earnings (OTEs) and changing salary advancement goalposts. Find out more about OTEs and salaries in: All about estate agency commission.

What can agencies do to combat staffing issues?

So, to combat high staff turnover and a lack of candidates for new positions, how can estate agencies adapt their job offerings to reflect what potential candidates are looking for?

A flexible working approach is invaluable when it comes to providing a better work/life balance for the workforce. Regardless of personal circumstances or commitments, flexible working hours help everyone. Whether this enables staff with children the flexibility to drop them off at school, the freedom to book important medical appointments or the opportunity to finish sooner to catch that earlier train, flexible working unlocks it all and will benefit the entire team.

Salaries

Making salaries and benefits industry-competitive is another way to incentivise potential applicants to apply to your opportunities. Staying on par with, or offering more than, your competitors is going to help you gain the attention of top candidates.

Staff retention

When it comes to staff retention, it’s important to make sure that the staff you hire are a perfect fit for your business from the off. Resist falling into the trap of hiring as a gap-filling exercise for the required positions in your business. Instead, assess candidates carefully to ensure they really do have the right skills, the right attitude and a fitting personality.

Other ways to achieve good staff retention include:

  • Outlining progression – when advertising your vacancy, ensure you outline a clear progression plan. A career pathway demonstrates progression, potential salary increases, job security and stability, key factors when it comes to retaining staff.
  • Rewarding good performance – everyone likes being told they are doing a good job and feeling appreciated goes a long way when it comes to keeping your workforce happy. This, together with maintaining good communication, will not only help you guide them towards the performance levels you’re aiming for but will also allow them to address any concerns they have and aims they want to achieve.
  • Offering training – from external seminars to in-house workshops, training will help your workforce feel valued and invested in, and new skills will help the company long-term.
  • Listening – taking the time to listen to your staff will help you learn more about them and what makes them tick personally. Staff who feel listened to and respected will not only give this back in return but are more likely to stay in their roles long-term.

Of course, some staff movement is inevitable and part of a natural business evolution. When employees leave your company, make sure you ask them why they are leaving; this will allow you a valuable insight in order to make any necessary company changes.

Why are estate agents not replacing new staff?

In a recent article discussing Brexit uncertainty and its effect on property recruitment, Anthony addressed the fact that several estate agencies are either rescinding job vacancies or choosing not to hire new employees to replace lost ones.

Instead, estate agencies are operating with lower staffing levels in general. This isn’t all bad news though, especially for remaining staff, who can receive higher earning potential as a result.

What’s more, the
time it takes to induct a new hire and bring them up to speed could be used to further train and better engage with existing staff members, saving time and rewarding loyalty.

How can a recruitment consultant help estate agencies navigate staffing uncertainty?

It can be tough for an estate agency to go through the instability of Brexit and the knock-on staffing issues alone. But they don’t have to. By instructing a property recruitment consultant, like Property Personnel, estate agencies can learn more about the current industry market conditions and receive advice about what they can change in their recruitment behaviours to make their roles more attractive.

Not only that, a recruitment consultancy will supply only the most suitable staff with the right skillsets, to ensure the perfect individual is hired who can drive the business forward.

Our thorough industry knowledge and vast experience of estate agency makes for an invaluable consultative approach.

Find out more

If you’d like help finding quality staff members to join your estate agency business, why not consider instructing Property Personnel? We can help you every step of the way through the recruitment process, from advertising your job listing all the way to hiring the right candidates for your business. Get in contact with us today and let us help you navigate the uncertainty of staffing during the Brexit delay.