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NEW YORK CITY-Maybe we’re not as far advanced as we thought. A new survey shows that despite our MBA image–and the advancement of certain recruitment tools, such as the internet–the industry still embraces the old-boy network, a cowboy mentality and a marked lack of interest in an employee’s educational pedigree. The Human Capital Survey was co-sponsored by GlobeSt.com, Equinox Partners, ULI, Grubb & Ellis, Institutional Real Estate Inc., the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Pension Real Estate Association and Sarofim Realty Advisors. Results of the survey will be formally revealed today at the Urban Land Institute’s Fall meeting in Las Vegas.

The results pool input from senior real estate executives and human resources professionals as well as employees. The employee portion of the survey was conducted through GlobeSt.com’s database. The survey was designed and tabulated by Monalco Inc., a Milwaukee-based market-research firm.

“The data seems to indicate that the leadership of the real estate industry is largely still operating on pre-1990 assumptions, habits and values,” states the executive summary, “while the actual structure of the industry demands a different approach to human capital.”

The old-boy network thrives in recruitment, the survey proves. “Most companies rely most heavily on referrals and somewhat on their alumni network to fill their ranks,” the summary states. “GlobeSt.com respondents report referrals most often as the way they actually got their jobs.”

But headhunting real estate firms do make a nod toward more advanced measures, and internet-based recruiting comes in second after referrals. Professional recruiters are rated the third most effective means of hiring.

The survey also uncovered a disconnect between hiring criteria and the skills companies require to run their businesses. “In making hiring decisions, senior executives say they most desire proactive, analytic, entrepreneurial professionals with good business judgment and oral communications skills,” the survey report states. But they place less hiring emphasis on “leadership and very little on the ability to manage teams.” This despite the fact that this lack of leadership was the second-most cited professional development need. The survey also revealed that paying so-called stars ranks highest among organizational strategies while succession-planning ranked near the bottom.

The report also brings to light a ho-hum attitude toward a candidate’s educational past. Not only were a meager 17.9% of all new hires in the past year recent grads of real estate or MBA programs, but respondents also ranked academic training in real estate lowest of all desirable skills. Senior executives stated their preference for on-the-job training over a university background.

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