The abundant growth in the real estate industry has not come about without its share of problems. After nearly a decade of stagnation, the real estate job market is turning into a job seeker’s market. Developers small and large are experiencing an acute shortage of trained and motivated manpower.
The industry will continue to perform well in the near future, as most developers have filled their order books for the next few years. It’s also an industry that has ‘solidity’, and usually rewards long-term employment.
The real estate workforce can be broadly classified into the following segments based on the skills and experience:
l Construction and project management
l Architectural and engineering planning
l Government liaison
l Land purchase and business development, sales
As is evident, these roles would need relevant qualifications and work experience. Opportunities also exist from entry level onwards in some other functions:
l Accounts & finance
l Human resources and administration
l General management
In the second category, experience is more function-specific and less industry-specific. People from other industries too can be employed. And this indeed has been the first option for real estate companies when they initially faced a manpower crunch.
However, it has been observed recently that the difference is more theoretical, and even in the normal corporate functions an exposure to the real estate industry is required.
In the areas where personnel can be substituted by mechanisation as in construction or can be imported from other sectors as in accounts and human resources those options are being aggressively pursued.
That still leaves job roles such as planning, approvals and land aggregation. As the shortage in this area is still acute, the same set of people from the same pool is being poached. This has resulted in a rising spiral of salaries and falling standards of accountability at one level.
The industry can try to solve this problem in many ways. Companies can tie up with educational institutions to provide industry-specific courses; they can develop in-house training and mentoring programmes; they can tap talent from countries with slow-growing realty manpower markets.
All players also need to work towards retaining the industry’s newfound image of being transparent, high-growth and robust.
(The author is executive vice-president (corporate), Unitech)