Navigating the Talent Maze: Recruitment Challenges in India’s Booming Real Estate Sector

By Mr. Narayan Bhargava, Founder and Managing Director, Calibehr Business Support Services Pvt. Ltd.

The real estate sector contributes 7.3 per cent to India’s GDP. A blend of recent government investments and regulatory reforms unleashed the potential of the sector such as the PMAY push with budgetary commitment (2023-24) of 79,000 crore, up to 100% of FDI for townships and settlements development projects, rationalization of tax through GST reforms, REITS, RERA act, computerization of land records, and the Model Tenancy Act along with availability of affordable credit with interest subsidies for residential housing.

The developers are anticipating a sharp increase in demand for office space with changes in the SEZ Act. The rise in urbanization is also fueling the demand in the sector.

The real estate sector is thriving and embracing newer models of project development, innovation in construction technology, embracing architectural designs fused with sustainable concepts and materials, and embedded with technology-driven solutions to elevate the customer experience – IoT-based home/office solutions with an overarching theme of sustainability in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Technology would soon start driving innovative cost-efficient business models for a superior consumer experience. However, for execution, the sector would need a highly skilled workforce.

These trends are creating demand for talent capable of executing innovative business models and projects with newer roles such as business transformation specialists, technology-driven profiles for digital customer experiences through Virtual/Augmented reality (VR/AR), 3D view and online walkthroughs, Manager – ESG, Manager – Business Analyst, Brand Manager – Projects, LEED or GRIHA certified Architects for developing sustainable architecture, legal experts to interpret new regulatory environment to implement the required legal processes.

Real estate companies are compelled to develop their workforce with new skills, reskilling with a refresher course while introducing superior capabilities into the processes and setting higher industry standards.

Though the demand for the above-mentioned profiles (the list is indicative, not exhaustive) is high there exists a shortage of highly skilled professionals with sufficient experience. The sourcing of professionals may be explored from complimentary sectors such as Infrastructure consulting or identify professionals dynamic enough to adapt to the needs of the real estate sector. 

The real estate industry in India is the second largest employer with an unskilled/skilled blue-collared and white-collared technical workforce of engineering and architecture, technology implementation, project management, material research and application.

The newer tech-based sourcing channels armed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and analytics for candidate screening, analyzing candidate data and speeding up the recruitment turn-around time (TAT).

The recruiters also need to consider non-conventional sourcing channels for a skilled workforce pool of retired defence personnel with experience in the construction and engineering division, and personnel from Border Road Organization.

They would be required to undergo refresher training as applicable. A dedicated portal for retired defence personnel focused on technical skills would serve the purpose. The pandemic has forced a large number of skilled workers from the construction industry of Middle East and other countries, back to India. Tapping into this talent pool is needed.

The other aspect that needs to be addressed is reskilling and up-skilling the existing workforce – both blue and white collared. For example, the blue-collar workers would need reskilling in terms of the application of newer kinds of building materials, and understanding of newer construction technology like interlocking blocks/bricks.

The higher-order skills of architecture would require up-skilling them in the sustainability dimension of the construction and learning to build eco-friendlier, strong innovative structures.

Organizations are increasingly deploying innovative retention strategies such as holistic wellness programs, learning and development programs, and jobs linked to long-term career progressions, and opting for diversity hiring with options of flexible/hybrid work hours.

The recruitment challenges of the sector would continue to evolve around the theme of sustainability and technology creating newer market trends requiring reskilling the existing workforce and adapting to the newer capabilities by embracing them. The challenges are Real, dealt with the Estate of people’s will.

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