reduction

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A Cushman & Wakefield spokesman confirms job reductions, butdid not confirm the reported 200 job loss amount, nor could hedetail how many people will be affected in each market, region orspecific group. He did say, however, that "on a local level, marketby market, it's not a significant number of people." He explainsthat "a small percentage of jobs will be affected."

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The spokesman continues that of the approximately 6,000employees in the US, "some markets are reducing staff and in somemarkets we continue to add staff." As far as the local New YorkCity market, he says that he cannot comment on the Manhattan officeas far as level of detail, but that New York City is "one of ourlargest markets."

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Hugh Finnegan, an attorney in the real estate group at Sullivan& Worcester LLP, tells GlobeSt.com that he is not at allsurprised by Cushman & Wakefield's cuts because "all activityis way down. There are fewer leases—especially large leases. Andthere are fewer sales." He also says that he expects that therewill be more cuts to come from "all the major brokerage firms andthe numbers will increase. The smaller firms may be able to survivelonger. They are a bit more active and they do not have the sameoverhead."

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An anonymous source agrees with Finnegan that these job lossescome as no surprise and says that the same thing is happeningacross the industry, pointing to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. jobcuts. "All the companies are restructuring to stay competitive,"the source says. A CBRE spokesman tells GlobeSt.com in a statementthat the firm "regularly reviews its operations to ensure that ourcosts are aligned with the business environment. In light of themarket weakness this year, we have been focused on cost containmentin all aspects of our business. Unfortunately, our efforts haveincluded modest headcount reductions. These actions are beingimplemented prudently to preserve our core strengths. In mostoffices, the effect of such reductions is minimal, and we remainwell positioned to continue serving our clients during theseturbulent times."

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The spokesman would not provide details or specific numbers atthis time. Also, according to a report, Jones Lang LaSalle has cutemployees as well due to a "wider, strategic cost reductionexercise to ensure the firm's ongoing competitive market position."JLL did not respond to GlobeSt.com queries for comment by deadline.As GlobeSt.com reported in September, Chicago-based JLL decided tolay offbetween 60 to 80 employees in England.

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Not all firms are cutting back, despite the tough times. MarkJaccom, CEO of FirstService Co.-owned Williams Real Estate, tellsGlobeSt.com that "despite that many other real estate firms areactively thinning their ranks, Williams Real Estate will intensifyits recruitment efforts and attract the most talented professionalsin the real estate industry." Just last week, as GlobeSt.comreported, the previously revealed partnership betweenToronto-based FirstService Corp. and GVA Williams closed.

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The anonymous source tells GlobeSt.com that the industry isconstantly looking at different areas to cut costs in order to bemore profitable and pay off debt. The source warns that jobreductions at brokerage firms will most likely affect public firmsmore so than private firms. "Public companies are under morepressure than private. They are large, mainly salary based, andshares have already been affected…there has been staggering drops,"the source says.

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The C&W spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that the firm doesn'tanticipate any further reductions at this time. "With our globalscale and diverse client base worldwide, we have been able tonavigate a slower business environment with a limited revenue lossyear to date," he says. "But the outlook of the economy has changedin recent months, and in order to effectively address thatenvironment, we have to reduce our expenses, which includes therestructuring of jobs."

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The source continues that "as a private firm, we have low levelsof debt." He says that these types of initiatives will help thefirm "maintain a stronger and more effective platform in thiseconomy, and will help us to capitalize on opportunities andprovide the best service to our customers."

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Another industry source, who also spoke to GlobeSt.comanonymously, explains that they saw these industry job cuts comingwhen "brokers at some firms had stopped getting draws from theirfirms (a cash advance on commission)." Although the source wouldnot name specific firms, the C&W spokesman assures GlobeSt.comthat "it is not something we are doing." The source continues that"like everything else in this cycle, the layoffs are all happeningvery quickly."

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Grubb & Ellis Co., another large brokerage firm, chose notto comment to GlobeSt.com when asked queries on this particularstory.

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.