Walk into any shop, office, house or apartment built within the last few years and it’s patently clear that the property sector today is about far more than just bricks-and-mortar real estate.
In a world of constant innovation, where the demands of tenants, landlords and agents are evolving rapidly, the property space is in a prime position to capitalise on the opportunities arising from new technologies. Smart homes are no longer a rarity. Neither are offices that predict your behaviour. The customer experience from the built environment needs to evolve.
But as the process of buying, renting or leasing also becomes increasingly digital, it’s paramount that property businesses don’t underestimate the value of recruiting the right people. Across almost every sector and industry, the nature of work is changing as automation creeps in, but many roles will always require the skills, judgement and empathy that only a human can offer. Property is far from an exception.
As we brace for the future in PropTech, specifically, companies should focus on identifying where technology can be implemented to create greater efficiencies: it might make sense for a machine to take on standardised tasks that are repetitive and predictable, freeing individuals up to engage in more fulfilling work, enhancing the customer experience. If a business can strike that balance, then its employees are likely to feel more engaged and valued.
Against this backdrop, the challenge of recruiting the right individuals is evolving too. While in the past a deep understanding of the property market might have been a quintessential requirement for working in the industry, that’s no longer necessarily the case. Forward-looking, innovative businesses will be seeking people who are tech-savvy and creative, curious and agile, with skills and talents that are transferable.
Finding the right individual for a job will mean broadening traditional recruitment pools, but it will also mean ensuring that your business is a place where such individuals want to work. The generation entering the workforce has an expectation to be able to work flexibly and – where appropriate – remotely. Organisations need to challenge the constructs that, in many cases, have been unquestioned for decades. Offices should be an environment that promotes interaction and collaboration for creativity to thrive.
As an employer, small gestures – like free refreshments and creative perks – can go a long way. Big tech companies and startups have proved pioneers when it comes to modernising the working environment, but in many cases property companies should be vying for the same talent as those businesses.
At PwC, we can help you to understand how disruption to the environment you operate in could impact your business and ultimately your workforce.