We need to have access to the widest range of people possible to ensure we have all the skills we need
JLL’s office numbers have recently swelled with the arrival of our new graduate intake. Bright, eager, anxious at times - but the future of our profession.
We’ve recruited a total of nine project managers, cost managers and building surveying graduates this year, which shows the value we place on investing in our talent and the future. Regardless of market conditions, the training and nurturing of young talent is essential for a sustainable workforce - the current skills shortage of surveyors and senior surveyors bearing testament to the restraint shown in hiring freezes five years ago.
The recruitment focus in the property industry is changing. Initiatives such as “Changing the Face of Property”, which involves five of the biggest property companies including JLL, exist to open up the industry, make it more innovative and widen the talent pool that we recruit from. Working in property demands many talents including the ability to communicate, good interpersonal skills and business acumen and so we need to have access to the widest range of people possible to ensure we have all the skills we need. If we fish from a bigger pond, our profession can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the professional services business including legal and accountancy firms.
A challenge that we are addressing in the Buildings & Construction team is how to attract the best young talent into the profession which arguably requires engagement at school level
JLL’s Buildings & Construction team feel it is important to identify talent outside of the traditional property realm. For example we’ve just employed a graduate who was a former teacher and we will soon be taking on an apprentice, hopefully showing a young school leaver what the world of construction and property can offer. Another member of the team who has found a different route into the business is a senior surveyor in our Bristol team who started as my secretary, and through enormous tenacity studied her degree via distance learning and then qualified; and now has a graduate of her own to guide and mentor.
A challenge that we are addressing in the Buildings & Construction team and more broadly across JLL is how to attract the best young talent into the profession which arguably requires engagement at school level. Education and insight is required; and we all need to take responsibility for this. I am involved with an initiative being run by my old school and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors to provide work experience for A level students, and have offered the opportunity for any of the pupils to come into the office and meet me to discuss a career in property.
The future of our profession will always be in the talent we attract; but we must remember that we all play a role in the facilitation and realisation of the opportunity, and the nurturing of talent.
Helen Gough is the head of JLL’s Buildings & Construction team comprising Building Consultancy, Cost Management and Project Management . You can follow Helen on Twitter @GoughHelen