The lack of experienced thirty-somethings is due to Generation Xpassing over the industry in the early 1990s because of the creditcrunch and again in the late 1990s in favor of dot-coms and hightech firms in the late 1990s. So instead of having a stable oftalent ready for mid-level and senior management jobs, there's ahole--a hole that will get wider and deeper as Baby Boomer beginretiring over the next five years.

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"Part of that generation is lost and we will be paying theprice," said David Jacobstein, a senior advisor to Deloitte &Touche's real estate group, citing statistics from a company whitepaper on the subject that says 50% of senior managers in the realestate industry will be retiring between now and 2010.

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While the industry looks to recruit management-level talent fromother industries to fill that imminent hole it is also focused onmaking sure it doesn't happen again by making sure it attracts andretains its fair share of Gen Y, which is just now turning 25, andthe back end of Gen X.

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It's a tall order. The group has very high expectations andlittle patience, according to a panel that in addition toJacobstein included Lynn Gray, who runs recruiting for Lehman Bros.global real estate group; Kathy Ranek, the Equinox Partnersmanaging director in charge of Select Leaders, and onsite jobposting and listing Web site; and David Funk, director of CornellUniversity's graduate real estate program.

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According to the Deloitte & Touche white paper, Gen Y isgenerally looking for multiple experiences within a singleorganization, a sense of purpose or meaning, the availability andaccess to mentors, work-life balance and flexibility, a tech-savvywork environment and a social network that provides open and honestcommunication. "Those of us on the older side of things will be thefirst to acknowledge that many of our companies don't fulfill allthose needs," Jacobstein said.

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The easiest part of attracting and retaining Gen Y may befinding them; they are in college and online. Ranek says that inaddition to online sites like the one she runs, employers need tobe on sites like Facebook and MySpace, where Gen Y profiles itself,as well as sites like Vault, which offers career advice counsel."Real estate companies should be sponsoring or otherwise promotingthemselves on these sites," she says.

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One of the problems is getting them interested in what the realestate industry needs them to do. "We found in a study with CornellUniversity that one of the hottest real estate jobs out there isproperty management, specifically analysts and accountingpositions, but those are not what people are applying for," Raneksays. "There's a gap between what's out there and what people areinterested in. People are looking for deal orientation, butproperty management may be a way to get into the industry; we haveto get that across."

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Although not necessarily for the jobs available, Funk says therewas a huge migration into real estate-related higher education acouple of years ago. Already this year, however, in part due to thelatest credit crunch, he's seen a fall in students interested inreal estate. "That has real implications – at least fromuniversities – for feeding that market," he says.

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Gray isn't seeing the decline in interest from students atLehman Bros. By keeping close relationships with the Ivy Leagueschools like Cornell, it usually has hundreds of resumes to choosefrom when looking for talent. The problem for Lehman is retention."What we are looking for is the next managing director and we areseeing some real superstars," she says. "The problem is these kidsare so smart and so motivated that they are not patient enough tostart out as an analyst and hold out for 10 years to become amanaging director."

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Funk says the impatience is not only with the speed of theirascension within a company but also with people who they do not seeas their equals, who do not have the technological skills they havegrown up with. He cites a recent report from an ongoing 45-yearstudy of college freshman that found the 2005-2006 class had thehighest impression of themselves in the history of the study.

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"It's the resume-building generation," he said. "Parents toldthis generation they can do anything and they believe that. The goin and take a job and (after a very short time) feel like they areready for the next job, whether it's with the same employer or anew one."

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That said, he adds that the benefits of such a well-qualifiedand confident pool of talent far outweigh the negatives. "Thechallenges is recognizing these differences and then making themost of them," he says.

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Gray agreed they are worth the time to figure out how to make itwork. "These are very bright kids; their whole educationalexperience is much more enriched than we ever had," she says. "Itis challenging but they have so much to contribute and become somuch more accretive to business so much earlier" than previousgenerations of graduates.

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With regard to education and practical experience, Ranek sayspeople who specialize in real estate as opposed to getting a moregeneral MBA degree are "highly preferred." Indeed, Funk says hisROI studies for the past 10 years show that if you go ahead andfinish grad school as quickly as possible, you will be rewardedfinancially; you will make 20% to 40% more than you would have hadyou gone into the real estate industry without an advanceddegree.

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The caveat is that the advanced degree needs to be specific andneeds to be from a well-respected program. "It's a littleself-serving but the research bears it out," he says.

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For people who have already put in two or three years as a realestate analyst, "we don't' encourage anybody to go and interrupttheir career at that point," says Gray of Lehman Bros. "The problemeconomically is that if you start out an investment bank and startmaking money, if you leave to go back to school and then come backas an associate you might be making less money and you've lost twoyears."

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Instead, Gray brings the education to the employees. "We have analliance with NYU where employees take classes at Lehman from NYUprofessors, and we also kids getting their MBAs and masters in realestate part time while continuing to work with us," she says. "It'sbeen very easy in the last 10 years to be successful; we're now inan environment where skills and training will be much moreimportant."

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