Leading consulting firm RCLCO Real Estate Consulting recently released its comprehensive guide to compensation and benefits in the real estate sector: the RCLCO & CEL Real Estate Compensation & Benefits Survey. The nearly 500-page survey covers trends and salaries for the industrial, office, retail, residential, advisory and brokerage/services sectors, including public and private companies engaged in investment, management, development, construction, leasing, and other key real estate functions. It captures nearly 140,000 incumbents across 200 positions and more than 365 participating companies from around the U.S.
“This 2023 survey is the first released under RCLCO’s new partnership with CEL Compensation Advisors, but the 34th annual report since CEL began the surveys in 1989,” said Adam Ducker, chief executive officer of RCLCO. “The CEL Real Estate Compensation & Benefits Survey has become the industry’s most sought-after and trusted source for compensation and benefits benchmarking, and our recent partnership allows us to strengthen our mission of helping clients make strategic, effective, and enduring decisions about real estate through our expanded compensation consulting practice.”
In addition to detailed position-level compensation data, the report highlights the continued tightness of the labor market for commercial real estate talent despite easing caused by the sector’s capital markets pullback; 85% of surveyed companies report having difficulty finding skilled talent to fill some positions. Despite market headwinds, 67% of companies projected continued hiring. More in line with the slowed transaction volume, the share of companies hiring for transactional roles is down sharply year-over-year: the share of companies hiring in development, acquisition, and development roles is down 10%. In contrast, and reflective of companies prioritizing asset workouts, asset management hiring is flat year-over-year.
Compensation growth has moderated from the heady immediate post-COVID years, but companies anticipate salary growth to continue into next year. Respondents forecasted average merit increases of 4.9% in 2024, still well above the long-term pre-COVID average of 3.4%. The survey underscores other ways the labor market has changed since the pandemic: on average 42% of the surveyed workforce work remotely for some portion of their time.
Informed by RCLCO & CEL’s unparalleled understanding of real estate data and trends and paired with industry best practices gleaned from relationships with hundreds of real estate industry companies, the survey results have become the gold standard for companies committed to creating performance recognition and reward programs that align leaders and their teams, allowing for the successful attraction and retention of best-in-class talent, the cornerstone of success in the real estate industry. With nearly 500 pages covering compensation trends, benefits, compensation policies, long-term incentive structures, and detailed information/statistical (quartile) breakout of compensation results on a position-by-position basis, the survey results are stratified by company size (employees), company type (public and private), specialization, region, and metropolitan area.