Nareit’s REIT Report Podcast with Gemma Burgess: Human Capital Strategies Key as Real Estate Industry Faces Skills Gap

Ferguson Partners’ Gemma Burgess recently joined Nareit’s REIT Report Podcast to discuss human capital issues in real estate firms today.

Nareit’s REIT Report Podcast: Human Capital Strategies Key as Real Estate Industry Faces Skills Gap

A skills gap within the real estate industry means that to attract talent, firms must adopt human capital strategies that align with changes in employee expectations, says Gemma Burgess, president of Ferguson Partners.

Speaking on the REIT Report, Burgess attributed a skills gap within the real estate industry to the fact that many mid-level professionals left the field in the wake of the global financial crisis. “We’re definitely facing a missing generation in our industry. That’s suddenly making the succession work more challenging,” she added.

Meanwhile, Burgess pointed to changes that have occurred in the workplace. “People want to work in different ways today. They want to work more flexibly. They certainly want to work within an environment where they feel like they belong and that there’s a culture that they believe in, and they can see a future for themselves.”

While a lot of real estate firms today are “embracing this evolution, it’s going to take some time and the industry is going to look and feel differently than we do today,” Burgess said.

Burgess added that “it’s definitely an employee’s market today,” given that the cost to replace talent in some functions and seniority levels is “astronomical.” She added that “firms are wanting to find a way to keep their employees satisfied and to take that evolution of their culture to a place that enables people to stay and grow within the company, even if it means in a different role.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Burgess noted that:

  • On ESG matters, firms are trying to work out where they hire talent, where they groom internal talent, and how they divide up ESG responsibilities.
  • Going forward, ESG metrics are likely to come into play with respect to executive compensation.
  • Building a pipeline of diverse professionals that can eventually get up into leadership roles needs to happen across the board.
  • Younger professionals starting out in their real estate careers should “dive in and see what you like. Find opportunity to try different things.
  • Many firms are bringing back the old rotation programs and this can be an excellent way to start your journey with the asset class.”

Contact Gemma Burgess.

Scroll to Top