Real Estate Professionals Positive on Hiring Trends

Despite uncertainty in the economy, job growth in the commercial real estate real estate industry is expected to hold steady or possibly increase in 2012, according to an annual survey that offers insights into hiring trends.

The survey, which was conducted by SelectLeaders, a real estate jobs website, revealed that real estate professional are overwhelmingly positive about the possibility of new hires.

"In almost every sector in real estate, there were people talking about seeing an uptick in hiring," said Susan Phillips, CEO of SelectLeaders.

Among the more than 900 respondents to the survey, 32 percent indicated that they believe hiring will increase this year, while 47 percent said they expect it will remain the same as it was in 2011.

Melissa Coley, vice president for investor relations with Brookfield Office Properties (NYSE: BOP), said the economic conditions have made the company "a bit more cautious and conservative" when it comes to making new hires. At the same time, she said she doesn't anticipate a decrease in hiring.

"Brookfield has been performing well, and with the economy slowly recovering, we will most likely stay flat in terms of hiring, including some additions to staff and replacements," Coley said.

However, although hiring upticks were reported from businesses, Phillips said comments from the respondents revealed that people are concerned and frustrated with the economy.

"Their responses showed that people were very frustrated with the government and the economy," Phillips said. Comments offered by respondents took aim at the political situation in Washington and the banking sector as contributing to the overall uneasiness about the broader economic picture.

Phillips also noted that respondents commented that companies are expected to continue to hire and add lower-level personnel to their staffs. According to the survey, 37 percent reported that senior level positions in their companies have not been filled, while 27 percent said senior level openings were being filled by employees with less experience.

Phillips said she has even noticed a difference on her company's real estate job board listing open positions.

"In October 2008 when Lehman Bros. failed, we went from having 1,000 jobs to 30 jobs posted on the site," she said. "It has since steadily grown and has come back one sector at a time."