Hiring hustle in property securities sector

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As a notable employment trend, it's hard to overlook the accelerating activity in the Australian property securities sector. What's more, some headhunters anticipate this bustle could continue in the near term.

The consolidation of the Australian listed property trust (LPT) sector over the past two years has resulted in the market's new found love for direct property and property-related holdings. These days it is not unusual for retail and institutional investors to select property fund managers that can invest across LPTs, unlisted property syndicates and international REITS/listed developers over the traditional LPT managers.

The transformation of the property securities industry has naturally altered hiring in the sector. Tim Carroll, an associate at executive search firm Carmichael Fisher, says that across the board, employment is buoyant and pay is rising: "There's a real shortage of good people out there, which is why some companies are willing to increase salaries by 20% in order to hire the right person."

Some of the recent high-profile staff moves include Stephen Hayes resigning as head of property securities at Colonial First State (CFS) to join Perennial Real Estate Investment; John Snowden departing UBS to take up the helm at CFS; and the Deutsche DB Real Estate's team moving to Perpetual.

According to Carroll, the newly created property teams at both Perpetual and Perennial reflect another trend in the market: it's not just the senior players who are moving - their support staff are moving with them.

Sector salaries

Front office positions: The current salary range for a research analyst is between A$120,000 to A$200,000 while senior analysts/portfolio managers can earn in excess of A$200,000. Salaries of property securities specialists are similar to Australian equities front office staff.

Outside the front office, Carroll says a property trust finance manager could currently expect a salary of around A$120,000 to A$140,000.