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Property: career FAQs

Graduate careers in property: getting a job, applications, working life and salaries.

How can I get a job in property?

If you choose property as a career, there are several different paths you can take. Property graduates work in professional roles relating to all aspects of property management, with particular emphasis on financial appraisal and evaluation of property in both investment and development teams. Most graduates work as valuation surveyors, property development surveyors, property managers, or investment advisers.

The obvious choice for graduates may be to join a property firm that can offer a well established training programme and career path. Alternatively, you could choose to work in the public sector, for example in the Valuation Office, or in the property management departments of large organisations such as banks, semi-state or large commercial companies. If you have a strong interest in finance or business, working for a financial institution, in asset or investment management, or for a property developer could be the right choice for you.

What are the different areas of work?

Property firms are normally structured to provide services in two main sectors: the residential sector and the commercial sector. Opportunities for property graduates in Ireland are mainly in the commercial sector, which includes retail, offices, industrial real estate and development land. There are a variety of work areas including agency, surveying, valuations, professional consultancy services, asset management, property development and property management. Employers look for ambitious people and competition is high for places on structured graduate trainee programmes leading to chartered status.

The residential sector in the larger firms, and smaller urban and rural practices, recruit highly motivated staff with or without degrees; there are many routes to professional development and qualifications while gaining work experience in the property business.

What’s involved in the application process?

The graduate recruitment process varies between employers. The larger companies may contact colleges, usually before Christmas, to make presentations to student class groups or they may have stands on campus during the year or take part in graduate careers fairs. The application process for the graduate development programmes may be by application form or by CV and covering letter. Successful applicants are called for one or two interviews, while some companies may hold assessment centres.

When should I apply?

Most property firms recruit annually for their graduate schemes: deadlines tend to be early in the academic year.

What qualifications and skills do I need to work in property?

You don’t have to have a degree to get into the property profession, but many firms, particularly in the commercial sector, recruit only degree graduates.

While academic achievement and technical ability are most important, employers in the property sector also look for well rounded individuals with the right ‘soft skills’ for the job. Most firms will expect you to have good communication and negotiation skills, commercial awareness and analytical ability. Leadership and teamwork skills are also important. People who can think creatively are much in demand as property companies are constantly looking for new ideas and approaches to move the business forward.

What are the opportunities for professional development?

If you have a degree from an accredited property programme you will not generally require further academic training, but membership of the appropriate professional bodies will help progress your career and will open the way to continuing professional development.

To qualify as a chartered surveyor, you must first complete a degree accredited by the Society of Chartered Surveyors (Republic of Ireland) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Northern Ireland/UK). If your degree is from another discipline you can still become a surveyor by taking an accredited property degree or postgraduate conversion course. You can get a full list of accredited degrees on their websites.

Continuing professional development is also important in this sector. Your employer and professional institute will provide ongoing training and development opportunities throughout your career. Following a programme of continuing professional development is compulsory for members of some professional institutes. If you are not already a student member of a professional organisation, you should think about joining. It will look good on your CV and will also give you great opportunities to network with other students, graduates, employers and professionals.