The annual Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Macdonald & Company Asia Rewards and Attitudes Survey 2015 that was published recently provides an inside look into the diverse industry that is real estate and property. The survey not only provides statistics from key Asian economies – namely China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia – on current salaries, recent salary increases, bonuses and employment package benefits, but also offers insight into wider issues important to real estate professionals in their role and attitudes toward employment in the property sector.

Compared to 12 months ago, the survey noted real estate professionals’ reduced confidence for growth in the property market for 2015. Those who were wary were mostly from the “Sales & Marketing” group of the real estate market, which reflected the ongoing cooling measures introduced to the residential property market. In contrast, executives in the top bracket (CFO/CEO) are the most optimistic about future development prospects. This offers an interesting comparison between the attitude of industry players, affected by private and corporate entities with vastly different appetites.

The Asian region average salary showed an increase of 3.8% from 2014, although individual stats show that Singapore, China and Malaysia noted declines in annual base salary. Salaries of real estate professionals in Malaysia also declined from US$71,804 in 2014 to US$63,073 now. The only exception was Hong Kong, which increased year-on-year.

Annual Base Salary (US$): Region by Qualified RICS

Annual Base Salary (US$): Region by Qualified RICS

In a report by TODAY Singapore, a slow property market has resulted in more than 2,000 property agents leaving the industry in the first three months of the year. Real estate agencies said they typically experience 10 to 15 per cent attrition at the start of the year, partly a result of agents switching companies, and this may be true, as the RICS and Macdonald & Company survey showed that 60% were of real estate professionals were likely to change employer within the next 12 months. Nevertheless, this year a large number have left because of the current property market slump, due to lesser launches and slow sales.

However, not all is as bleak as it looks. The survey also reported 80% of real estate professionals are satisfied with their current employment (up 2% from last year), and 66% considered their current employer an employer of choice (up 3% from last year). Realistically speaking, many will remain and more than a few will enter the property sector, as despite the (slight) decline in statistics as reported in the survey, the real estate market is still a lucrative and competitive industry that offers great rewards for those who dare, and eventually, succeed.

Some key statistics from the report:

  • Only 36% of real estate professionals anticipate an improvement in economic activity, compared to 48% last year.
  • Negative business sentiment within the industry had risen to 18% from 11% last year.
  • 51% of real estate professionals reported receiving a base salary increase, 5% less compared to 56% last year.
  • US$94,510 is the average yearly income for Asian real estate professionals this year, a 1.6% decline from the previous year.
  • Better salary continues to be the most important job aspect in the property industry.
  • Health insurance remains the most popular employee benefit.

The full executive summary and key findings of the report can be viewed here.

Today Online (link)
RICS and Macdonald & Company Asia Rewards and Attitudes Survey 2015 (link)