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edition 1 (237)
January 2019
Human resources

High self-valuation

Salaries in real estate will continue to grow – but not by as much as you might think

Anna Pakulniewicz

High self-valuation
Justyna Swarcewicz, an associate manager in the real estate and construction department at Goldman Recruitment

In 2018 it was a challenge for employers not only to find and hire the right employees, but they also had to struggle holding onto them. the staffing shortages are unlikely to abate in 2019 and this has been impacting pay levels – but not so much in the property sector, even though wage pressure continues to rise

According to the data of the Polish Central Statistical Office (GUS), the unemployment rate in Poland in October 2018 came to 5.7 pct – the lowest in 28 years. It is also below the natural unemployment level. Thus labour shortages are now an issue for the entire economy – with the real estate and construction sectors being no exceptions. The struggle to find the right candidates for positions has already affected and – as specialists believe – will continue to affect the salaries being offered. “Although the past few years have been characterised by the dramatic growth of the real estate market, we can see that the market has already begun to enter a phase of salary stabilisation. Nevertheless, there are still large discrepancies in the rates offered to people for the same position,” admits Krzysztof Butyński, a managing consultant at Michael Page, where he is responsible for recruitment in the field of real estate and construction. Mariusz Hoszowski, the CEO of Smart Work, adds that employers had huge problems supplementing their staff with Polish employees in 2018. This year the situation is set to worsen.

Oskar Kasiński, the CEO of the HR Design Group


In 2019 the problems with filling vacant positions in Poland could be even greater than in 2018. “The opening up of Western European markets to employees from Ukraine will certainly pose a massive challenge for the Polish labour market,” predicts Mariusz Hoszowski. “The construction and real estate markets, as well as the logistics, office and other sectors, need to take note of the German government, which has just passed a bill liberalising its immigration policy. This will be a decisive factor in the outflow of employees from Poland. The labour supply will be reduced and, as a result, salaries will also increase,” explains the CEO of Smart Work.

Mariusz Hoszowski, the CEO of Smart Work

More, more!

In 2019 we will certainly face increases in salaries, say HR specialists. In the last few years we have seen salary increases of around 7 pct per year. “We are anticipating at least the same kind of growth this year – if only because of the rise in GDP,” says Mariusz Hoszowski. Oskar Kasiński, the CEO of the HR Design Group, also forecasts growth, but not in every sector and not on such a huge scale. “There won’t be any spectacular increase in salaries, because they have already grown a lot recently. Wages should remain stable,” explains Oskar Kasiński and he adds that employees will continue to call the shots in the fields where there is a shortage of labour – physical work, electrical engineers, etc.: “Therefore, there could be significant salary increases only in these groups. For example, for the position of electrical engineer in Warsaw, PLN 12,000–14,000 gross was the market rate until recently. The trend we are currently seeing is towards PLN 14,000–15,000 gross for the candidates’ minimum expectations,” he explains.

Recruitment specialists Antal believe, however, that 2019 will be relatively stable when it comes to pay levels. Salary increases of 10–15 pct are likely for those changing jobs. “People who know foreign languages ​​well, who work in large development companies in large cities, and those who previously held a similar position in a rival company, can all expect to earn more,” claims Krzysztof Butyński. Due to the large staffing needs of the market, the financial expectations of candidates are also higher than for the previous year. “We can assume that average expectations grew by around 15 pct to 20 pct for middle and senior specialist positions,” comments Justyna Swarcewicz, an associate manager in the real estate and construction department at Goldman Recruitment.

Michał Schneider, the head of the engineering and design team at Antal

Wanted, wanted

According to Oskar Kasiński, the most sought after professionals in 2018 were project managers, engineers and work managers for commercial and residential fields. “The situation is unlikely to change in 2019 and the trend will continue. Things are similar in real estate, i.e. positions related to maintenance, management or leasing,” admits the CEO of the HR Design Group. Michael Page also confirms that finding the right employee in our sector is getting more and more difficult. “Due to the dynamics and competitiveness of the market, the recruitment of committed and highly qualified employees is becoming a greater challenge,” says Krzysztof Butyński of Michael Page. “The significant increase in the cost of construction projects means that developers are also facing a new challenge, which is optimising expenses. Therefore there is significant demand for specific specialists in the sector able to manage the budgets of projects. This area is often dealt with by cost managers. The duties of such people also include: cost estimation, cooperation with project managers and construction engineers, organisation and the settlement of tenders, and the final cost settlements for projects. “It is not only specialists and experts that are in short supply. Every company is suffering from the lack of physical workers. In particular, skilled, sanitary, electrical and HVAC workers, but also general construction engineers,” reveals Justyna Swarcewicz of Goldman Recruitment. “There is still strong demand for positions in the area of ​​land purchases, while there is still a shortage of managers and specialists for expansion projects. The salaries of cost managers are currently at around PLN 10,000–15,000 gross per month – 20–30 pct higher than a year ago,” explains Krzysztof Butyński, who adds that land managers, whose tasks include finding and acquiring attractive land, are also highly valued in the current real estate sector. Their salaries currently range from PLN 10,000 to PLN 16,000 gross, but usually come to around PLN 12,000 gross. “Project managers that supervise projects do not have to complain about a lack of job offers. A project manager can expect earnings of around PLN 14,000–20,000 gross per month in Poland, with the average salary offered in this position amounting to PLN 17,000 gross. However, candidates with eight to ten years of experience on demanding projects, e.g. in the office segment, can expect a monthly salary of up to PLN 30,000 gross. Lease managers should also find work without any big problems. They are responsible for the leasing of real estate and attracting potential tenants, and their salaries range between PLN 11,000 and PLN 18,000 gross per month, but are usually paid around PLN 14,000 gross. Property managers can count on salaries of between PLN 8,000 and PLN 15,000 gross, but an average of PLN 12,000 gross. The responsibilities of such specialists include the operational management of office, retail, hotel and warehouse buildings. Asset managers, who are responsible for the functioning of buildings and the value of entire projects, are also much sought after in the sector. Their salaries range from PLN 18,000 to PLN 30,000 gross per month and on average are paid PLN 21,000 gross. There is a also a great deal of demand for technical property management specialists. Facility managers can expect a salary of between PLN 8,000 and PLN 16,000 gross per month, with the most frequently offered rate being PLN 14,000 gross. Meanwhile, a fit-out project manager for commercial interiors can expect a salary of between PLN 12,000 and PLN 23,000 gross per month and an average of PLN 16,000 gross,” reveals Krzysztof Butyński of Michael Page. Facility managers’ wages range from PLN 8,000 to PLN 13,000 gross subject to the location of the building, while a leasing manager can expect PLN 12,000–16,000 gross.

Medium rung

The demand for specialists and middle managers is expected to continue through this year. However, according to Antal, real estate is one of the most stable sectors of the economy, which means that even the continuing demand will not have a massive impact on increasing salaries. “The most acute difficulties in obtaining staff will be in the warehouse market. The main reason for this is the dramatic growth of e-commerce. In order to avoid staff shortages, warehouse operators will have to make their offers more attractive to employees not only in financial terms but also in terms of benefits, because according to our ‘Four Personalities – One Labour Market’ report, as many as 67 pct of employees want to receive modern benefits,” claims Michał Schneider, the head of the engineering and design team at Antal. As the recruitment firm reveals, the facility management sector will also have to face some stiff challenges in 2019 – especially in its warehouse and industrial segment. “It will be difficult to acquire an experienced employee for technical maintenance. This is due to the location of warehouses and industrial facilities outside large urban areas,” explains Michał Schneider. Similar to last year, a facility manager and a lease specialist will receive the best offers. Non-pay benefits to ensure employee involvement, high retention and the development of the best talent, should also give such employers’ a competitive advantage.

Transfers and novelties

As the specialists point out, the real estate sector had been up until recently rather hermetic, but there is no longer a sufficient supply of candidates currently available on the market. “So we are currently seeing a trend for specialists and managers to migrate from other sectors. Companies are increasingly opening up to sectors that are in a similar field but not their direct competition. One example of this could be the transfer of sales people from logistics operators to warehouse developers,” suggests Michał Schneider of Antal. In the near future employers are also expected to be interested in hotel sales specialists in the condo or aparthotels system. “The hotel real estate market is growing rapidly, and there are not so many qualified specialists in this field, so there will be huge demand for them. Average salaries are around PLN 6,000–9,000 gross plus bonuses on sales,” adds Michał Schneider. ν

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