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Like many industries in today’s economy, the real estate sector is twisting in the wind, especially while attention is focused on potential hostilities in the Middle East and the users of real estate stay on the sidelines. This wait-and-see attitude is having as much impact on hiring in the real estate sector as it is on deal-making.

As always, there are opportunities for talented individuals who can deliver real long-term value to the organization. However there are major differences in the employment outlook between the different real estate sectors. In our view, the best job prospects in the commercial real estate arena are in retail, healthcare and industrial. Let’s look at each.

Retail Firms Get Ready for the Up Cycle

Consumer confidence may be down, but the retail sector is currently one of the best markets for job seekers. Candidates with development expertise, especially in rehab or repositioning of existing retail assets, are in particular demand as owners and operators of existing shopping centers and other retail properties seek new ways to add value to older assets. Look for this sector to continue to be active through this year and continue to position themselves for the next up-tick in the economy.

No Flat Line in Healthcare Hiring

Potential employment growth in the healthcare sector is on fire. In fact, this industry uber-niche has long been tipped to take off, and it’s happening now. The boom in assisted-living centers particularly is creating a desperate need for experienced development and construction pros. While the boom is biggest in states with a high proportion of seniors, such as Arizona, Florida and Nevada, this trend is truly nationwide.

Industrial Mantra: Slow & Steady

Look for a slight uptick in hiring in the next few months among companies involved in industrial development and ownership. While hiring levels won’t hit the heights of the retail sector, selected industrial markets are likely to see some gains as corporations wrestle with logistics issues and developer/owners look to win more build-to-suit business, especially around ports and other entry points. Prime candidates for industrial developers will be individuals with strong business development backgrounds.

So the hiring climate for the overall real estate environment is actually dependent on the specific sector in which you are interested. And, depending on your field of expertise, you may be standing out in the cold or poised for some exciting changes in your career trajectory.

Anthony J. LoPinto ([email protected]) is CEO of Equinox Partners and global head of the firm’s executive search practice.

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