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Property sector careers that could help reduce youth unemployment

South Africa is facing a crisis of high and rising youth unemployment that could be addressed if the public and private sector join forces to build a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem for the younger generation, which, statistics indicate, is more open-minded to entrepreneurship as a career choice than previous generations.
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“There are a number of great job opportunities for young people in the South African property market,” says MultiNET CEO Shaun Rademeyer, “from youth with practical hands-on abilities to do things like electrical or plumbing work, to those who prefer to sell or to arrange bonds, contracts and financing.”

While being a residential real estate agent is one of the most common career opportunities associated with the property industry, it is by no means the only one. The industry has depth and breadth, and there are many other jobs young people can explore. Whether they are looking for something with more flexibility, more structure, higher stakes or lower stakes, they are likely to find a career opportunity within real estate and related services.

“There are also the more physical aspects of selling a house where manual labour is needed to make the property sellable,” says Rademeyer, “from the painting to plumbing, to electrical work. Youngsters who develop these trade and technical skills can easily go on to establish their own businesses and provide much-needed jobs for others.”

Career opportunities in real estate


MultiNET put together a list of jobs candidates might not have considered in the real estate industry that are both challenging and have the potential to be profitable new careers for South Africa’s youth.

1. Web developers, social media and SEO specialists, AutoCAD designers


The property industry is increasingly using technological solutions to market and sell properties, and even to generate home loan applications. Almost every traditional real estate business now has a need for IT-focused employees, and that’s to say nothing of all the tech-related opportunities in the sector for web developers, social media specialists, app developers and draughts people with AutoCAD skills.

2. Town planner, quantity surveyor, property evaluator


For young people with a passion for mathematics and science, there are a number of great opportunities that require a minimum of a four-year BSc degree in Town Planning or Quantity Surveying.

The BSc Urban and Regional Planning is a three-year undergraduate degree, plus one-year BSc Honours in Urban and Regional Planning. Graduates will be able to register as professional planners with the South African Council for Planners after they have completed two years of relevant work experience.

To become a quantity surveyor you will need a BSc degree or a national diploma in quantity surveying. You can do an honours degree in your fourth year. Although universities can only take a certain number of students, universities of technology also offer three years of study towards a national diploma in building and quantity surveying.

A property valuer determines the value of immovable property for various purposes.

Valuations are required for decision-making when buying, selling or expropriating immovable property; deceased estates; mortgage bonds; levying of rates; insurance and investment purposes; rental determinations; leases; servitudes and many other purposes. To practise as a property valuer, a diploma or degree in property valuation is a prerequisite as is registration as a candidate valuer with the South African Institute of Valuers.

3. Builder, cleaning services, painter, handyman, plumber or electrician


If you are a practical, more hands-on type of person, becoming an artisan might be the right career move for you. There is a growing demand for qualified artisans in South Africa and right now is the perfect time to pursue this line of work. Career opportunities include plumbing, carpentry, building, electrical expertise or professional cleaning. Most of these require that you do an apprenticeship whilst completing the required studies in your chosen field.

Research reveals that 72% of Generation Z (individuals born between 1995 and 2012) aspire towards starting their own businesses. Within the property sector, becoming an artisan offers the greatest opportunity to achieve this. Young people can start their own companies, delivering services to their local community and creating jobs for others as their business grows.

4. Property practitioner


For those job seekers who would like to enter the dynamic space of buying and selling property, there are a few requirements that must be met. However, once they are complete, the rewards – financial, mental and emotional – are ample.

To start with, there is a 12-month internship where the young person will be paired with a more experienced agent who will teach them the proverbial ropes. They will also benefit from on-the-job training.

The new agent will have to complete:

  • An NQF4 Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) in Real Estate with a Services SETA (SSETA) accredited training provider;
  • A Professional Designation Examination (PDE), conducted by the EAAB.

5. Attorney or conveyancer


Property lawyers help clients deal with a wide range of property-related issues, including buying, selling, subdividing, transferring titles, council and building restrictions, tax implications, approval processes, and restrictive covenants and easements.

South African law requires that prospective lawyers obtain an LLB degree, work several years in a legal setting and pass an admissions exam before they are able to qualify and practise. You must also be at least 21-years-old and a citizen or legal resident of South Africa.

To become a lawyer in South Africa, as stipulated in the country’s Attorneys Act of 1979, you must complete a four-year bachelor's programme to earn the required LLB degree. The degree must be earned at an accredited law school in South Africa.

Conveyancing in South Africa can only be carried out by a licensed conveyancer, i.e. a lawyer who has passed the National Conveyancing Examination.

6. Home loans consultant


Home loans consultants assist clients with loan and mortgage decisions. Their duties may include contacting people to ask if they want a loan, meeting with loan applicants and explaining different loan options. They also analyse applicants' financial information and choose whether or not to offer a loan. Loan consultants generally work in an institution such as a bank or a bond originator.

To become a home loans consultant in South Africa you ideally need an undergraduate degree in business, finance or another relevant field. However, if you do not have a degree, experience in finance or banking will qualify you for on-the-job training, and some employers provide additional in-house training opportunities to develop your skill set. The biggest requirement is a passion for sales and helping people.

7. Insurance advisor/broker


Insurance brokers need a wealth of knowledge about all sorts of insurance products and advise clients on which options will suit them best. Brokers also assist clients when they need to make a claim against their policy to see the claim through, and ensure that they are paid out what they deserve.

An insurance broker sells policies from various insurance companies to clients for:
  • Life insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Industrial/commercial insurance
  • Home insurance

Insurance brokers require little formal education but must be licensed with the Financial Services Board of South Africa. Insurance brokers can start work with just a high school certificate and complete on-the-job training.

“Finance, insurance, real estate and business services sector employers reported the strongest hiring intentions with a net employment outlook of +11% in the third quarter of 2019, according to the recently released Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey," says Rademeyer.

“According to Statistics SA, the sector showing the most growth nationally is the finance, real estate and business services sector, which added 109,000 new jobs between the third and fourth quarters of 2018 – and is expected to continue to create employment opportunities in Q3 of this year, boding well for youth seeking jobs in the property sector,” concludes Rademeyer.
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