One of my daughters, who is in her final year at university, recently asked me to speak at their careers fair. During the day, I listened to some great presentations from bankers, law firms, teachers, social workers and a variety of blue chip companies from every conceivable business sector all extolling the joys of a career in their sector. I was, however, the only estate agent there.
I started my session by asking if anyone had ever considered a career in estate agency. Not a single person raised their hand. I then asked them what they knew about estate agency and the answers that I got back were a parody of what estate agents really do. I couldn’t have had a more hostile audience if I had been trying to sell them a career in prostitution. This made me feel terribly sad.
I have earned my living from the estate agency sector for thirtyfive years during which time I have met tens of thousands of estate agents from hundreds of different companies. I think estate agency offers a fabulous career opportunity for young people of all levels of ability. It is interesting, varied, worthwhile and well paid. Above all, it is a meritocracy which gives capable people an opportunity to progress to the very top more quickly than almost any other career.
Despite this, I don’t remember meeting anyone who has told me that they have always wanted to be an estate agent. Vets, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, graphic designers, almost every other profession has its share of people who have wanted to pursue that career since they were three years old. But estate agency is full of people who just sort of drifted into it by accident. This strikes me as the most terrible shame and I believe that as a profession, we have a duty to sell the benefits of a career in estate agency far more effectively.
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Appeared – APRIL 2014 PROPERTYdrum