July 28, 2017
The CRE industry’s dress code has been evolving slowly over the last 5 to 10 years. Once a conservative suit-and-tie or dresses-and-pantyhose culture, views on what is now acceptable has shifted for many into more relaxed office attire – and we (partially) owe it to the Millennials for leading the charge. Below, Kent Elliott, principal at RETS Associates, provides companies and candidates a look into the changing profile of CRE, and the role of hiring and recruitment.
An Overview of the CRE Industry’s Shifting Image
This highly competitive job market is driving companies to be more creative when attracting top talent; and often times younger employees see dressing less formally as a “perk.” Millennials are a tech-savvy, laid-back, globally minded generation that makes up about 60% of the nation’s work force today. And they embody a relaxed, approachable style influenced by Silicon Valley’s trendy, progressive culture. Because CRE recruiting and talent retention efforts are now greatly focused on this generation, traditional companies are loosening up to appeal to this younger pool of top talent.
Companies: The Shift is Happening
CRE is evolving into a blend of ‘business smart’ and ‘business casual’ attire, pending the occasion. Because of the millennial influence, CRE pros have shifted to a more relaxed, but professional style where we see fewer ties, suits and traditional black-and-white ensembles. Keep this shift in mind while searching for and interviewing candidates. Though there are some “diehard” companies that still maintain the traditional suit-and-tie culture, the majority have loosened up, so to speak, pending target audience and daily operations.
We aren’t alone: JPMorgan Chase has embraced ‘business casual’ attire, along with IBM, General Electric and many other historically conservative companies – all in a push to court younger talent. It’s important to remember that it’s all about compromise; office attire is just another “perk” to be considered in the job offer.
Candidates: Be Mindful
Be yourself, be different – but not too different – and be professional. When going in for an interview, it’s important to be authentic, but to not push the envelope. If you do the man bun or grow a beard, you will stand out and could run the risk of providing a reason for companies to not hire you. Image will always matter. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, go ahead and embrace the new ‘business casual’ or ‘business smart’ environment of button-down shirts and tailored slacks, but be sure to take hygiene seriously, regardless of the length of your hair.
Just remember, whether you’re seeking a new position or searching for the next member of your team, CRE is not as casual as the trendy tech companies, nor will it probably ever be. So don’t show up in flip flops, ripped jeans and a t-shirt, but it’s now acceptable for almost all real estate professionals to ditch the dark tie and throw away the white shirts – you know who are!