Considering a Job Change in an Uncertain Market

Coming out of COVID, the Real Estate market rebounded in a way that I could never have imagined. After 2 months with almost no activity, there was an avalanche of deals, with Residential and Logistics sectors performing incredibly well. This of course led to two years of vast amounts of recruitment activity, particularly at junior levels, with Analysts and Associates deciding between 4-5 offers. At the same time, salary levels (mainly junior level IB Candidates) rose significantly, with Senior Analysts seemingly overnight going from being paid bases of around £65K to Associates being paid around £110K.

As we move towards the latter part of Q3 in 2022, we’re seemingly at the end of the cycle with the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and the subsequent rising interest rates. This has of course led to deals being stalled across Europe, which again has had a knock-on effect on recruitment, with high profile names pausing recruitment due to ‘Macro Economic Conditions’.

So given this uncertainty, if you’re considering making a move, I’d recommend asking yourself the following questions, ‘what type of role should I be considering? Or should I even be considering a career change?’

To explore this further, we really need to analyse whether you’re on the Sell-side or Buy-side.

Firstly, Sell-side (i.e. working with an IB) and you’re keen to move into a Buy-side role. The golden rule still applies, the earlier you can make that move, the easier it is for your career and the better it is for your long-term prospects.

Since the Banking salary increases in August 2021, many Buy-side funds have simply matched or beaten the salary levels of the banks, in order to attract talent, which has made it easy for candidates to make the swich to the Buy-side. As much as I expect this will continue in the short term, how likely is it for this continue as we move into 2023?

Your guess is as good as mine…However, as early reports of junior bonuses within the IB’s are down in August 22, I do expect that these inflated salaries will be a short-term measure.

So, what type of role should you be considering? I always ask candidates to weigh up what’s most important to them in their next role, strategy of the firm, personnel, culture, asset classes, ticket size and available capital. My guidance is always to consider salary as a secondary concern and select a position which fits them best when looking at these factors.

Of course, salary is an important consideration but if it’s slightly below your expectations, will it stop you taking your dream role?

The last 2 years have been unique. Historically the way of thinking was to take a slight drop in initial income in order to move to the Buy-side and obtain the long-term incentives, such as carry or promote. Are those days returning?

Secondly, Buy-side (i.e. working with an Investor) and you’re keen to move to another Buy-side fund. If you’re in this position, there perhaps isn’t as much pressure to move as there would be from the sell-side. Should you be considering making the move? If so, why? These are key things that Partners will want to know as they will want to see real logic behind your potential move.

Over the last 24 months this has seemingly become less important with the shortage of talent but if the market is turning, this is definitely something that you should be considering more.

Of course, I have headhunted candidates, who haven’t been actively on the market. Does that mean my advice, is to turn down approaches about potential opportunities?

I am a Recruiter, so it makes little sense to say yes to this question…What I’m really saying is that in these instances, there need to be really compelling pull factors from a fund, to attract top talent. If you are in this position, really do your due diligence on the fund that you’re dealing with, speak with former employees about the culture, the inner workings and discretionary capital etc. It will give you a clear picture of what you are potentially getting into to help you determine if a move makes sense.

The purpose of this conversation is not to be doom and gloom regarding the outlook of the real estate market. Many people out there will be better positioned than myself to predict the economic movement and trends over the next 24 months.

The main guidance that I can give, is from a recruitment perspective, particularly if there are changes from the initial 24 months of the post-COVID world. There remains a shortage of talent and many funds with capital to deploy, so there will be many opportunities on the market. However, the demand has dropped from this time last year and the expected hiring levels are lower this year, so it’s key to be clear why you are making a career move and the benefits of the firm that you are moving to.

Refreshingly, whilst historic questions around what increase can I get have not completely gone away, I see the competition for new roles has ultimately led to package being very much a secondary consideration.  More candidates are appreciating the long-term benefits of taking a £10k pa haircut in favour of more accommodating working hours, more deal exposure and the longer term opportunities financially.


If you are considering a career move or if you would like any career advice, I am always happy to help. Please feel free to reach out to me via and we can set up an initial conversation.

Posted by Jamie McCord

Jamie joined Novus Executives in 2011 after graduating from the University of Manchester with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with Finance. During this time, he developed a well-rounded knowledge of business and investment practices. Jamie exclusively recruits for Real Estate across EMEA, focusing on PE Funds, Investment Managers, Real Estate Lenders, Hedge Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds and Advisory firms.