Are good assistants becoming harder to find?

Shifting Job Market for Real Estate Assistants The national unemployment rate may still be 7.1%, however experienced real estate assistants are becoming harder to find.  As more Realtors see sustained growth in their business they are hiring staff at a rate that is outpacing the supply of skilled, experienced assistants.  If you are thinking about hiring an assistant this year the time to start your search is now.

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Nationwide Salary Increases -

I am seeing more and more candidates receive multiple offers for solid positions while my client is extending an offer as well.  Salaries for assistants are definitely higher than they were a year ago, also signifying their demand.  Here is a quick and informal snapshot of the salary ranges I am seeing in different parts of the country.  This is based solely on my observations and conversations I have had with employers and candidates.

  • Los Angeles, CA $45,000 - $55,000
  • San Francisco Bay Area: $50,000 - $65,000
  • Austin, TX: $40,000 - $50,000
  • Atlanta, GA: $40,000 - $50,000
  • New York Metro: $55,000 - $65,000

(These salary ranges represent the average base salary for a well-qualified and experienced real estate assistant.  This does not include bonuses which vary widely and can add anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 to total compensation depending on the team and area of the country.)

A Change in Priorities –

During the recession candidates were just happy to find a job and they often experienced multiple layoffs and job changes between 2008 and 2012.  They often accepted lower pay, poorer working conditions, and less challenging work because they had no other choice.  Today, most candidates we speak to are currently employed and they are looking for a better opportunity.  They may have accepted a lower-paying position during the downturn and now they are looking to reestablish themselves, or they realize that they now have an opportunity to move into a more challenging position with better long-term prospects.  Also, more and more candidates are turning down offers that do not offer health insurance.

The Bottom-Line -

What does this mean for employers?  If you have employees that you want to keep you should evaluate your compensation structure and determine if you are being competitive in this market.  Do keep in mind though that money isn’t the only reason employees choose one job over another.  Are you offering a positive and fulfilling work environment?  Do you honor your employees’ need for work/live balance?  Do you offer opportunities to advance or learn new skills?  These are things to start thinking about as the market continues to change.

If you plan to hire this year be prepared to move quickly when you meet a candidate you are interested in and be prepared to make a strong offer.  The days of taking a “wait and see” approach or stretching out the interview process over 3 or 4 weeks are coming to a close.