With MAPIC in our minds at the moment it is worth focusing on the skills that are needed in the Retail arena. Over the last decade there has been a move towards sector specialism amongst the property fraternity. In many ways there may have been too much of a focus on sector specialisation which has resulted in some professionals not being equipped to focus deal with the changing markets. However of the property asset classes’ retail does require deep sector knowledge.

With specialist real estate recruitment teams across Europe, Cobalt Recruitment is very well placed to view employment trends across the broad spread of real estate participants. These opportunities cover the Consultancies, Property Companies, Banks and Funds. The skills required are however specific and employers requirements are in the main in direct response to market conditions. The drivers in the current market environment for the technical areas of property are all about value preservation and enhancement for owners and cost cutting for occupiers. We are therefore seeing significant demand for skilled asset managers from the owners and outsourcers are looking for outsourced corporate real estate skills.

In France it is expected the capital markets activity for shopping centres will continue to exceed the 10-year average and therefore retail investment specialists remain in demand as do asset managers. We are finding that in Russia there is a trend towards the development of big box retail parks around Moscow where the there is tenant demand and schemes are easier to get off the ground than more capital intensive and time consuming shopping centres.

German investors were the second largest players in the European property investment market in the first half of 2011 and German investors are increasingly focusing on their own market. Investors are saying that the German retail market is already overheated and that it is very difficult to find core and core+ products as they are the assets that banks are more likely to finance properties due to their lower risk profile. Nevertheless investors are comfortable investing in the country due to their solid return profile. That’s why a lot of them are boosting up their acquisitions teams, especially at the senior level in order to get people on board who have a strong and proven network of contacts in the property and financial markets.

As ever those with the right market and professional skills are highly prized with those organisations active in the market so let’s go shopping!

Written by Timothy Rowe – Managing Director – Cobalt Recruitment