The economic downturn and resulting slowdown of transaction velocity in commercial real estate have taken their toll on employment in this sector over the past several months, at companies both large and small. Following the previous week’s poll, which sought to measure whether most believe unemployment will get better or worse, zeroed in the long-term implications of these job cuts as they occur in this industry. Although 17% of people believe job losses in commercial real estate will turn around, 51% see the layoffs making people choose different career paths. Another 32% say the downsizing is creating new opportunities. Rick Fisher, partner at Eisner LLP, thinks those numbers pencil out.

“Every cycle has its ups and downs, and commercial and residential real estate are certainly in a down cycle. However, it should rebound and will definitely create new opportunities down the road. In today’s economy, it’s probably going to happen a lot sooner rather than later, as things go down very quickly and hopefully come back very quickly. But in the meantime, there’s a lot of displacement and a lot of folks out there looking to reinvent themselves.”

“How radically people are trying to reinvent themselves depends a lot on experience and age. Younger people who have been out in the job market and now are out of work–whether they were in Wall Street or real estate or public accounting–are now soul-searching, looking deep within and deciding what it is they want to do. A lot are going back to school; some are taking the LSATs and considering law school.”

“For those that are middle-aged, it’s more difficult to radically reinvent yourself. I think they just have to become more open to other areas that may not be as severely hit.”

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