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Real estate salary levels not as important as before

Before the economic downturn salaries were of primary importance to property professionals but the current market has forced those working in the industry to re-consider their work balance priorities, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Macdonald & Company UK Rewards & Attitude Survey 2009.

Job satisfaction, strong leadership within the workplace and job security are now as important to chartered surveyors as economic factors. In 2008, only 47% of respondents said job security was important to them, now its 71%.

Management style is important to 64% of respondents, up from 48% in 2008 and the working environment is important to 56% in 2009 up from 46% in 2008. Some 83% of chartered surveyors believe that they worked for their employer of choice, indicating that there remains a large degree of job satisfaction within the profession, the survey shows.

Only 58% reported a salary increase, down from 75% 2008, but of those that did receive increases average salaries rose from 7.5% in 2008 to 7.9% in 2009. Less than half of respondents did not receive bonuses during the last twelve months; 58% in 2009 compared with 41% in 2008. Those that did receive bonuses pocketed on average £5,596, down by approximately 5%.

Despite the economic downturn, some sectors have continued to thrive, the survey which is the most comprehensive survey undertaken for the property sector, shows. The development investment property sector, not for profit, and central and local government saw reasonable average salaries increases. In contrast financial services saw the biggest drop in annual earnings with a fall of £10,000 to £52,300 in 2009.

RICS members continue to earn far more than their non-chartered counterparts, especially in the early stages of their career, making the qualification increasingly of interest to young graduates.

'In tough times, professionalism stands out even more and it is clear that the marketplace recognises the value of being professionally qualified as a chartered surveyor by the significant salary differential it has been willing to pay. We see this trend globally and are confident the market will continue offering a reward premium for professionally qualified individuals,' said Sean Tompkins, RICS Chief Operating Officer.

According to Peter Moore, Managing Director Macdonald & Company, a leading professional recruitment consultancy to the property industry, there are few signs of immediate improvement in the world economy and confidence and availability of capital continue to severely affect the property market.

'Despite the climate, the job market has not and will not grind to a halt. There are reasons to be cheerful, the property industry is a sector that is happy in other ways with 38% saying they are very satisfied in their current role, up 10% from last year. Overall it is clear that the industry is pulling together in the face of adversity whilst at the same time accepting that working conditions, job security and leadership are more important than ever,' he added.