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Estate agency industry faces "worst staffing crisis for a generation"

The estate agency sector “is experiencing the worst staff shortages in a generation at a point when the property market is going through a very challenging time” according to the industry’s longest-standing recruitment supremo.  

Property Personnel managing director Anthony Hesse says the need to attract the right recruits to estate agency has never been greater - but does not always require individuals with substantial experience. 

“A lot of our clients would prefer someone with the right attitude, drive and determination, rather than years of experience because they are a blank canvas to work with. They can also be trained in best practice from the very start and have a commensurate expectation as far as salary is concerned” he says.


“Ultimately, though, it’s about ability – and estate agency is one of the professions where the label ‘no experience necessary’ can genuinely apply.”

His comments follow a survey by independent job board CV-Library, which found that two thirds of Britons secured their first job without any previous experience.

Hesse says: “In estate agency, we have always prioritised attitude over experience. And this doesn’t only apply to someone looking for their first job. We regularly place personnel who have never worked in the industry before – many of who go onto hold positions at managerial level, with some even running their own estate agency businesses.”

Over the past five years, around a third of his recruitment firm’s placements had no estate agency background whatsoever.

 Hesse says the skill sets required by several other professions naturally lend themselves to the business of marketing and selling property. 

“Some of our biggest successes are with people from the world of hospitality – such as those working in hotels, restaurants and conference centres. These are people from customer-facing roles, who work long hours, and are used to a demanding clientele who expect a high level of customer service.

“Those who are the right fit for estate agency tend to have excellent inter-personal skills and experience of having to deal with numerous people at the same time, all with their individual competing interests at heart.”

He adds that the need to attract the right recruits to estate agency has never been greater. 

His comments come as the government proposes introducing mandatory qualifications - of a type so far unexplained - before people can set up as agents.

  • vivien thompson

    I am not surprised that the levels of recruitment for estate agencies are low. Reading the criteria of the recruitment agencies, what they appear to be seeking are salesmen pure and simple. They have to be "realistic about salaries". (read bad basic pay), "experience not important" etc. Yes, it is true that people with no experience in property can be good to work with because they come fresh to it, but as a property search agent with twenty five years in the London market, I think it is a pity that agents who understand their local market, its properties and their leases, are being replaced by "driverless cars" whose only mission is to sell at whatever cost to their integrity.

  • icon

    The drive from within the industry to hammer fees to the lowest common denominator can only increase the problem. I've been in the industry for some 15 years and wage growth is non existent, if anything many who are still here post 08 era are taking home less than when I started out.

  • VTUK Ltd

    Interesting research, the key question to consider is how agent’s manage time. As agent’s face severe staff shortages, agents are being faced with more and more workload. Maybe combining personalised one to one customer service with automation will resolve an agent’s need to recruit more staff. Life is so incredibly demanding, tasks are always needed “yesterday“ and in keeping up with emails and operational demands many business owners are just happy to survive rather than thrive. Our Taurus automation system can significantly assist agents in automating everyday office tasks (emails, SMS messages, rent collections, rent chasing), saving you time whilst providing you with an extra staff member. https://www.vtuk.com/estate-agency-process-management-software

  • icon

    Just so you know that "no experience necessary" can fall flat on its face. I asked an agent to value my deceased Mother-in-Law's bungalow in order to rent it out, only to find that two weeks previously he had been working as a Production Assistant at the Daily Mail. He was sent on his own and the ARLA Registered Agent considered this to be a professional approach. No, it wasn't.


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