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Demand Surges for Top People in Real Estate

May 01, 1988

Demand for senior executives in the real estate industry surged 60% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to the national management-search firm Korn/Ferry International.

"The renewed demand for real estate executives is coming from well-established companies with deep pockets," said Lee Van Leeuwen, managing partner of Korn/Ferry's real estate division in Los Angeles. "And these are very large organizations, either subsidiaries of the Fortune 500 corporations or the cream of the crop of entrepreneurial private companies."

Demand for senior real estate executives is the highest it has been since the early 1970s, Van Leeuwen said. Recruiting of financial officers, asset and property managers, general and project managers and senior construction executives "is proceeding at a robust pace," he added.

The first-quarter increase may be linked to the stock market crash last October, Van Leeuwen said. Investors nervous after the crash put more of their money into real estate, which may have created more demand for top-level executives in the real estate industry, he said.

Hiring had previously languished for more than 2 years, he said, because companies feared the impact of tax reform before the legislation was passed at the end of 1986, and then took a year or so to gauge its effects after the bill was signed into law.

In the first quarter of this year, 8% of all vacancies for executive jobs that pay more than $100,000 annually were in the real estate, building and construction trades, according to statistics released by Korn/Ferry. Those trades accounted for only 5% of demand in the first quarter of last year, the report said.

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