So, What’s the Answer?

Last week, my partner, Matt Wassel, shared some of his views on the challenges facing young brokers and why millennials may be shying away from a career in real estate. His piece was widely read and I hope it’s a wake-up call to the industry at large.

If you didn’t read it, I highly encourage you to do so. My key takeaways were:

-          We don’t recruit on college campuses the same way other industries do.

-          Lack of consistent training.

-          Senior brokers aren’t trained to be managers.

-          Commission/draw compensation from Day 1.

So, what’s the answer?

How do we make the industry more attractive to the millennial generation? Is it even important to do so?

The industry is changing rapidly, but that’s nothing new. I have written about my early days in the business when I had to bring my own computer. Email is one of many technological changes that altered the way the business worked, and the changes will continue.

I have four ideas that I think would help entice young, talented people to consider a career at CBRE as a broker:

1.       Recruit top talent. If we go to top schools and recruit, would we be putting ourselves, as a company, in a position to provide our clients with better services in years to come? I think so.

2.       There should be one person (or a team) that is responsible for every broker across the country during the first three years of their career. That person would ensure that every young broker received the same training, act as a resource for all questions they had, and act as an advocate as they deal with senior brokers in the office.

If we cut the attrition rate of our young brokers, the money saved would more than support a salary and training program. If one person that we would have otherwise lost became a star, the whole program could be supported by that income alone.

3.       No canvassing for the first six months as they learn the terminology, the process, and the company. So many young brokers make hundreds of calls, trying to get meetings, but they don’t know anything about the company or what we do. This dovetails with the training program described above, but I think “banging the phones” is a waste of time during the first six months. If someone who doesn’t know what they are doing gets a meeting, is that prospect really someone with whom you want to meet?

4.       Rather than a draw, each young broker would receive a salary for their first two years, with a review every six months, guaranteed by the company rather than senior brokers. Again, this is related to the first point. I’ve seen many senior brokers burn through juniors over and over again. They need someone to show space or prepare reports, but they don’t help them develop their careers. Even if they guarantee the draw, it’s money well spent as they had an indentured servant to do their menial work for a few years. If it’s a salary, instead of money owed, maybe both the company and the junior broker would feel more invested in each other.

I don’t pretend to have all the right answers. However, as an industry, I don’t think we are asking the right questions when it comes to the next generation of brokers. I am happy to be part of the conversation, but if it’s just business as usual, count me out.