Making the move into real estate

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Real estate fund managers still sit at the top of organisations' hiring wish lists. What's the chance of reinventing yourself as one?

Low - if you want to manage actual real estate assets, which are where most of the jobs are right now. Fair - assuming you're an equity fund manager who aspires to invest in real estate stocks, which is where an increasing number of jobs will be tomorrow.

Since the UK introduced corporation tax-exempt Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) last month, listed property companies are likely to increase dramatically. And the trend isn't restricted to the UK - Asian REITs are equally hot. New Star announced the launch of a new international real estate fund this week, 20% of which is expected to go to REIT investments overseas.

Headhunters say much of the ex-US global real estate investment market is managed out of London. Despite suggestions that the sector is overpriced, hiring is reputedly strong and there's a shortage of talent to go around. "Demand for real estate specialists is even greater than in 2006," says one London-based real estate headhunter: "We're being forced to be a little creative in terms of the skill sets we're putting forward."

While investors in bricks and mortar real estate assets typically need a real estate background (as a surveyor, for example), indirect real estate investors can be drawn from the equities sector.

"You can move into real estate if you have a background as an equity fund manager in an area like the leisure industry - where you've been dealing with property assets in the form of hotels," he says.

How much can you earn? Timothy Rowe, managing director at property specialist Cobalt Recruitment, says mid-ranking real estate focused equity fund managers can expect to command a base salary of between 115k and 130k, plus a 100% bonus.

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