Technology’s imprint on our daily lives has become more pronounced than ever during the past two years. Earlier this year, REIT magazine spoke with five REIT technology executives to assess how real estate is embracing technology across various sectors, why real estate technology adoption may have lagged other industries, and where some of the challenges and opportunities lie ahead.
One of the topics that came up during these conversations was the need to build the talent pipeline for tech professionals within the overall REIT industry. In fact, a recent EY and CRETech study found that 53% of commercial real estate owners say they don’t have the in-house talent to adopt technology successfully.
A recent study (PDF) by Ferguson Partners’ Global Innovation + Technology Practice, where REIT leaders were interviewed about strategic innovation and technology priorities and their alignment with human capital, highlighted the importance of building a robust talent pipeline for many REIT leaders. “Becoming digital is no longer a competitive advantage, but rather the table stakes for doing business. With digital saturation and a level playing field, companies will face the challenge of meeting evolving and increasing demands from customers, employees, and partners,” the report stated.As part of its REITalent series, Nareit asked three REIT IT and tech professionals: “What advice do you wish you had received at the beginning of your career?” Read on to see what they said:
Adi Englander, SVP, IT-Enterprise Solutions, JBG SMITH (NYSE: JBGS)
“My advice to young professionals is:
- Do not be afraid to ask questions. Observe and pay attention to details.
- Be a sponge. Even if something doesn’t seem useful at the moment, it could become useful down the road.
- Build relationships early on and continue to nurture those relationships over time.
- Be flexible with yourself and others.”
Kim Scharf, SVP, Information Technology, SITE Centers (NYSE: SITC)
“The journey to career success is challenging but fulfilling when you form partnerships, whether those partnerships are mentors, peers, or family members. Forming meaningful connections through kindness and empathy will lay the foundation for trust in relationships that can lead to having lifelong partners who help you become the best version of yourself. Share your journey towards success with trusted partners.”
Michael Manelis, Chief Operating Officer, Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR)
“Looking back on my career, I was fortunate to have several great mentors along the way. The collection of their words leads me to give this advice: Be relentless with your pursuit of curiosity. Ask questions and challenge the status quo.”
Visit Nareit’s new Career Resources page for more information about working in the REIT industry and for the most up-to-date job listings from SelectLeaders.