“See a Need, Fill a Need” and Help the Millenials

A big topic in real estate these days is the need for strong young professionals in the industry. Specifically the Millennials.  Many of these millennial candidates were just interring college when the Great Recession happened. They saw neighbors, family and parents losing their jobs in industries that they hoped to go into upon graduation. Many millennials aspired to have a career in real estate development, construction management and architecture but abandon that goal due to the failing economy.

Many millennials were just graduating and looking forward to starting their lives when the crash hit. They had to survive and moved out of state and, for the most part, out of the industry all together.

As real estate development began to reignite itself around 2012 many of our clients had a pipeline of moth-balled projects that they were now breaking ground on but they needed the 2-3 year experienced analyst, assistant project manager, associate, designer and so on. There were none to be found and those very few that were available where scooped up quickly.  A few years have gone by and we still have that massive hole in our human capital but now it’s reach the 5-8 year experience candidate level in project management, estimating, preconstruction, development, finance and so on. It will continue creeping up the time line until California can become a more palatable place for the millennials to return.

We were in a ConnectMedia conference lately listening intently to a panel of developers talking about how hard it is to find quality candidates in this younger age range. Some of the issues involved affordability of housing, lifestyle and of course compensation. As areas like San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York, DC etc reach record breaking cost of living levels we run into the problem of housing that’s affordable, yet still hip, for the up and coming work force. Unfortunately, most employers are unwilling or unable to pay higher wages for junior talent just so they can afford to live closer to work. Clearly there is a gap here and the philosophy of “See a need, fill a need” comes  roaring into play. Not only does this level of talent need affordable places to live closer to work they also want to build a life closer to work. They need an environment that is walk/bike friendly with coffee shops, restaurants and nightlife.

There are many cities in the United States that are home to major real estate companies but many are nestled close to family communities and are therefore not considered a place of interest for millennials. Places like  Orange County have a tough time attracting younger talent and when we do find the right candidate we are always dealing with 20+ mile commutes. This isn’t just a problem for places like Orange County.  Large tech industries like San Jose are blowing up with jobs but the housing and environment that surrounds these opportunities surpass the incomes levels and underwhelm the emotions of a much needed younger bracket of real estate professional.