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Seeff KZN recruiting and training graduates

28 Jan 2016

Stringent qualification and professionalism standards now being enforced in the property industry have reduced the number of registered estate agents quite significantly.

The latest group of graduates taken on by Seeff KZN to fast-track as productive and professional estate agents.

Figures from the Estate Agency Affairs Board indicate that this reduction has been in the region of approximately 60%, from 96 000 estate agents in 2007 to the current figure of about 38 000 across the country.

This is according to Dave Jones, regional manager of Seeff KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), who says Seeff KZN is actively attracting graduates into the real estate industry as their first career choice through a structured recruitment and career path process.

Jones says within KZN there are 13 Seeff branches which are independently owned, with a complement of 22 directors or shareholders. Of these owners, close to 30% are under 35 years of age, and are graduates themselves. Looking at the total agent body, 27% are under the age of 35 years. Of the young graduates, five have already risen to the top 20 in terms of sales in KZN.

“Knowing that to grow business effectively a younger echelon needs to be attracted and expanded for effective continuation and succession, Seeff took a forward-thinking approach and positioned itself as a company eager to attract younger staff for transformation in the industry, specifically graduates,” says Jones.

“We team them with an experienced mentor in each office to provide an effective balance between enthusiasm and experience, to build both sustainability and skills development.”

Jones says the graduate programme was launched in KZN during 2014 with an initial intake of 10 graduates. In 2015 a further 10 graduates joined the programme.

One of the critical success factors has been choosing graduates who are likely to be exempt from the required NQF 4 level certificate, since this fast-tracks the candidate into becoming a full-blown productive agent within 6 months, he says.

This together with both formal and informal training interventions further accelerates their journey to becoming a high-earning and productive individual. 

“The vast majority of these interns are aged between 27 and 33 years, and they therefore have financial commitments. We offer the option of being paid a basic salary for the first 6 months in the way of a business loan against commissions to be earned,” says Jones.

“Feedback from these young graduates is that they now see realty as a career of progress, where earning potential is high and they can quickly move to a level where they can employ a team of their own assistants to build a business within a business.”

Jones says transformation is essential to the future success of the property industry. Within the Seeff KZN stable, 25% of the licences have black ownership. The latest intake of seven graduates includes six people of colour, with an average age of 35 years.

“While it is true that there is no substitute for experience, growing a new breed of realtor through a structured programme in this way will not only change the  image of the real estate agent to that of a business professional, but will also provide a ‘talent pipeline’ that will drive growth and results,” he says.
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