As recruiters, we have the pleasure of helping PropTech start-ups, consultancies and VC's grow their teams and expand into new markets. It's always an exciting milestone for any business when it comes to expanding and building out their world class teams. We have recently looked at the attitude to recruitment in Europe, now we are focusing on the difference between recruiting in US to Europe.
Our role as a global PropTech Recruitment and Search Consultancy is not confined to the boarders of one country, we place candidates across the world, helping some move from one country to another. We work hard to submerge ourselves in the real estate industry being at the forefront of emerging trends, providing insight on the implications and predictions of the effect the pandemic has had on the retail and office sectors, and the acceleration of the digitalisation of the industry forced upon us by the lockdown.
In general, we have found that our US clients and candidates are more open to the use of agencies in order to find talent. Business in general in the US tends to be more transactional than in the UK & Europe. This perhaps comes down to the strong sales nature which is embedded into many parts of society across America and is often instilled at a young age. Across Europe there are often more formalities before working together, a bit more courting before a contract is signed. Sales as a career is much better regarded in the US than it is in Europe, and this also changes the way in which recruitment companies are viewed.
This often depends on the size of the company, and the role that is being hired for. There is greater willingness for a company to outsource and utilise a recruiter for their speciality. At LMRE we are 100% aligned to the RE tech and innovation market, and all employees have industry knowledge, having spent a lot of time building specialist insight and contacts within the space. We don't deviate into different sectors, and are proud to be specialist talent managers in our niche market.
The scale and rate at which companies are hiring is so much faster and larger in the US. This is largely due to the amount of VC investment available. Just a quick comparison, at funding rounds you can see the dollar value is often double that against European counterparts. This abundance of investment commands a quicker growth trajectory, which in turn often requires the help of agencies to speed up the hiring process.
Outside of investment, the labour laws in the US vary greatly. At will employment means hiring and firing happens more freely which has its pros and cons. There is a lot less security in the US for candidates but also means they can leave at the drop of a hat with many having a 2 week notice period compared to a couple months that most have in the UK. This can be a benefit to recruitment firms in terms of the candidate lifecycle, frequently working on new positions but it also serves as a challenge. Employers deciding to let go of staff without much notice, or a key member leaving the team without much time to prepare which can become costly and a loss of contacts and valuable market insight.
Americans tend to be very good presenters which comes across on social media sites and importantly in interview. Most US citizens are grown up and taught the process of presenting, show and tell at schools or group presentations. Those presentation skills really come through when talking to a candidate. This does present some challenges for a recruiter if you’re not used to that level of confidence, because everyone you speak to is ‘the best person’ in their company. In comparison, UK society is much more introverted and people tend not to speak about their achievements to such a degree.
It does vary and depends on the candidate. Healthcare is a big expense in the US, with the cost to an employer working out at around 20-30% of their base salary. Companies offering healthcare packages are a huge perk, especially if these extend to family members for more senior employees. 5-10 years ago the standard vacation allowance in the US was 10-15 days, a far cry from the 28 days usually allocated across Europe. However, more and more start-ups are now offering unlimited paid time off, or 4-6 weeks which is certainly a great way to attract talent away from traditional businesses.
Going with a larger company you get stability, great training, good healthcare + other benefits, whereas in a start-up, there is a much greater risk the business won't make it but with the risk comes greater reward - equity which could become life changing but also an opportunity to build something from the ground up.
More and more we are seeing larger companies changing their benefits packages and policies in order to attract the best talent - in the past they have been missing out on some of these candidates. Flexible working, PTO are all ways in which these larger businesses can remain attractive to top talent.
In the PropTech sector there is certainly a shortage on the candidate side. PropTech has been growing pace over the recent years, but it’s still very much in its infancy. Therefore it’s increasingly difficult to find talent that have spent 5-8 years in a PropTech and have a real estate background. Coupled with the vast increase in VC investment - everybody is looking for that sort of background.
Luckily for us it’s not that hard to sell!
You only need to look at the acceleration of VC investment over the last 5 years to see the growth potential. Real Estate is the biggest asset class - and technology has only touched the surface of what can be possible in the industry.
The 2008 crash caused a massive amount of investment into FinTech, Covid has done the same to PropTech in Real Estate.