As the retail and shopping center climate continues to heat up across Europe and ongoing investment strongly suggests that the future looks promising, it is vital that we remain clear on what it is that really drives our market: the people within it.


Building a successful property business is a significant challenge, no matter what the economic climate. Steering one through difficult times – as many ACROSS readers will have done over the last five and more years – is an even greater one. Now, having endured a poor market and with the recovery gathering pace across much of Europe, businesses understandably want to capitalize on these improved conditions. Having the strategy in place and funds available to finance these activities is of course key, but having the right people with the right skills to implement them, and knowing what it is that motivates them, is vital.

Earlier this year, Foundation Recruitment and the ICSC worked in partnership to provide the shopping center industry with insight into the level of activity and recovery in the European real estate employment market and for career motivations and intentions. The initiative was launched in early 2014 by way of a confidential online survey conducted among 400 property professionals in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK. The survey was not restricted to ICSC members and was focused on those working within asset management, development, investment, leasing, property management, and on-site mall management.

The survey was designed to assess the fluidity and mobility of the retail real estate employment market and to measure the compensation received by the professionals operating in it. The idea was to provide data and information for employers to evaluate their employment packages and learn more about the expectations of those working within the shopping center industry. Secondly, it provided individuals an opportunity to compare their level of compensation against that of their peers within the industry.

The findings proved very enlightening. Among other things, it underlined how important it is to industry professionals to be involved in “challenging and interesting work” and an enjoyable company culture were viewed as either “very important” or “important” by over 98% and 96% of all respondents respectively. Significantly, they revealed that, while financial reward is a motivating factor for respondents currently considering a change in employers, it was generally the prospect of immediate promotion or longer term career opportunities that most influenced the desire to move to a new employer.

As market momentum builds, we are seeing the gap within Europe widening between the increasing demand for retail property professionals and their availability. The survey shows that, while employers are largely responding to this threat by increasing salaries and bonuses to reward their employees, it is equally important for employers to ensure that they know what it is that really motivates their people. Only in this way will they secure their talents into the future. A full version of the 2014 Career & Rewards Survey Report is available from Foundation Recruitment and ICSC Europe.


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