Home Property Staff turnover in real estate driven by the search for higher wages and more flexible work life balance

Staff turnover in real estate driven by the search for higher wages and more flexible work life balance

by LLP Reporter
1st Apr 23 3:11 pm

New research from Nested, the modern estate agent, reveals that annual staff turnover in the property industry sits at almost 30%, with the most common reason given for leaving a job being the search for higher earnings potential.

The cost of living in the UK is on the rise while salaries remain largely stagnant. As a result, many people are, in real terms, poorer now than they have been in a long time. One way in which many of us are combatting this situation is to try and find new employment opportunities that pay more money which inevitably leads to companies dealing with heightened staff turnover.

To understand how staff turnover is affecting the property sector, Nested has measured the industry’s turnover rate in comparison to 20 other major industries, and commissioned a survey of UK property professionals to understand what exactly is making them leave one job in search of another.

According to the latest government data, the average annual staff turnover rate – in which an employee leaves one company to work for another – across the 21 UK industries studied is 29.3%.

The highest turnover rate is seen in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector where it stands at 35.6%.

In Real Estate, turnover is 27.8%, placing it bang in the middle of the pack.

This means Real Estate has a smaller staff turnover rate than the likes of Health & Social Work (29.7%), Construction (29.5%), and Education (29.2%), but higher than sectors such as Manufacturing (27.4%), Financial & Insurance Activities (26.9%), Mining & Quarrying (26.6%), and Public Admin & Defence (24.2%).

Nested has surveyed almost 300 members of the real estate industry to gain a better understanding of what they believe drives staff turnover among UK property professionals.

The results show that turnover is very much being driven by the employees themselves rather than employers. In fact, 81% of respondents said that they believed turnover is being driven by employees jumping ship, while just 19% stated it was down to employers laying off staff.

It seems that economic conditions have little to do with the ebb and flow of staff turnover, with 54% stating that turnover is higher during periods of subdued market activity, and 46% saying it increases at times of boom.

As for why staff are leaving, the most common reason is the search for higher salaries, as stated by 36% of industry respondents; followed by looking for a better role (16%), stress of workload (16%), and the search for a more flexible work/life balance (11%).

9% say that turnover is caused by employees looking to pursue new careers outside of property, 8% think it’s about escaping toxic work environments, 3% say it’s caused by staff relocation, and 2% observe that colleagues are leaving to go self-employed.

When asked what factors they think would help reduce staff turnover in UK property, 18% pointed towards more flexible work patterns while 16% said companies could better trust their staff to do the job without the need for micromanaging.

A further 16% suggested that consistent and reliable pay rises would help ease the situation, while bonuses (16%), a better company culture (12%), openness to constructive feedback from staff (9%), travel expenses (6%), and healthcare (6%) were also cited.

Alice Bullard, Managing Director at Nested, the modern estate agent said, “It’s clear from these results that estate agents want and need better pay. Staff turnover is not about market feast and famine, nor is it about redundancies. Instead, iIt’s about earning potential, flexibility, lifestyle, and the sense that they’re being trusted to do the job well.

At the same time, however, it’s reported that very few staff are leaving to become self-employed agents. This is surprising given the growing popularity of the model and its tried and tested success in the UK to date. Not to mention the fact that going self-employed with the support of a well-established agency brand is a great way of increasing pay, flexibility, and autonomy. With a platform like Nested you can take home 75%+ of your exchanged income vs 5-15% at a high street agency.

Furthermore, the apparent drawbacks of self-employment, such as a lack of healthcare and travel expenses, are nowhere near the top of agent’s priority lists which, once again, suggests that more people could be getting the careers they want and need by leaving massive agencies and going it alone.”

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