Agents are being urged to consider apprenticeships for both younger and older recruits as a way of tackling staff attrition problems in the sector.
Catherine Calvert, business development and property specialist at industry training platform The Able Agent, said the time it takes to train staff before they become fee-earning could be leading to people leaving roles early.
She said: “In an industry where the majority of staff need to be fee-earning but are not until they are trained, means finding the time to train up new members of staff can be a real challenge, especially in a small office.
“These challenges may lead to early staff attrition which puts pressure on precious resources such as time and money. It’s an age-old cycle and it’s time to break that cycle for the greater good of our sector.”
The UK average employee turnover rate is approximately 15% a year, according to human resources software provide Cerdian.
Using this benchmark, agents can see if their rates are above or below average, Calvert said.
She said now is the time for the property sector to consider how embracing a nationwide apprenticeship programme can help to solve the crippling levels of staff attrition in the first year of joining companies.
Calvert said: “It’s important to note that apprenticeships are not exclusively for the younger ‘would-be employee’ but are available to people of all age groups and earning brackets. Ideal for those wanting to transfer into new sectors or returning to work following a career break.
“A successful apprenticeship simply supports employees by earning while they’re learning and working towards a new qualification.
“We all need an opportunity at some point in our lives, in fact, I was offered an apprentice role when I left school rather than go to university. Recently a colleague spoke to some school leavers who asked if there was an alternative to going to university such as training in the workplace to gain an equivalent qualification – evidence of interest and success.”
She said an apprentice shouldn’t just be seen as “cheap labour” but as a way to grow a business and to give someone an opportunity.
Calvert added: “In my experience, good business growth strategies support recruiting before the need arises.
“By adopting a supported apprenticeship model, it is entirely possible that agencies can develop their own successful six-month recruitment cycle. Getting a new member of staff to the crucial six-month stage and being able to recruit again.
“In a market where the number of open positions outstrips the number of candidates providing access to an apprenticeship programme that is fully supported will give agents another option to help attract new talent.
“Whether that is supporting a young school leaver or an experienced candidate who will benefit from training, an apprenticeship offers several hidden benefits not least demonstrating the value an employer places on supporting their staff to be the best agent they can be vs the agent who doesn’t.”