Student Accommodation What makes a good operator? Today I met with another Student Accommodation team and they asked me what I felt were the key skills for a good operator? It got me thinking, the student accommodation sector has changed dramatically over the last few years and is almost unrecognisable from what it was. With major investment into the sector and the development of new state-of-the-art buildings there is now a major contrast between operational standards; so what does good look like? For me, it doesn’t matter how good the building is and if it hosts state-of-the-art equipment, it is the people that make a building, they create that sense of community and excellence in student experience. I am big fan of customer service and I think it goes a long way in what makes a good operator. It is the little things that make a difference. Running student accommodation isn’t like a normal building, it can be extremely fast paced with a multitude of things happening at any time, so you need to be able to keep up and a sense of humour is a must. Personally, I don’t think you have to have previous experience in the sector and some of the strongest operators started their careers in something completely different. But one thing that they hold in common is strong emotional intelligence and the ability to identify with the students’ needs and that they are fundamentally a customer. With strong investment continuing over the next few years, I think that we will continue to see innovations and everyone striving to standout. Hayley Mintern, Director (Estates and Facilities Management).
It hardly seems possible that it has been a year since we celebrated our 10th birthday on The Arcadian King Edward floating down the South bank of the River Thames, and true to form we have managed some further milestones over the last 12 months. But it seems 2018 hasn’t been just a year of milestones for MRG, in fact it’s been a pretty busy year both in and out of the office. In January the UK's second-largest construction company, Carillion, went into liquidation. In March the ‘mini beast from the east’ brought heavy snow bringing much of the UK to a standstill. By contrast on a sunny and warm Saturday in May The Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is held at St George's Chapel, Windsor, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion. By the end of May GDPR became enforceable, meaning MRG undertook a compliance process to update data policy and protect the privacy rights of our clients and candidates alike. On July 10th The Royal Air Force (RAF) marked its 100th anniversary with a flyby of 100 aircraft over London and South East England. The Queen, accompanied by The Prince of Wales, also presents a new Queen's Colour to the Royal Air Force at a ceremony on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. And the very next day on Wednesday 11th July, sadly Football didn’t come home, and England were defeated by Croatia in our first World Cup Semi Final in 28 years. Back on the 20th February – Brexit secretary David Davis states that Britain will not be "plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction" after it leaves the EU and suggests a Brexit deal by the end of 2018 is "well on the cards", It’s now August and it still continues……. For us personally at MRG we had an office move at the end of April, and our city office is now located at 52-54 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0EH, next to Santander and opposite The Folly, benefitting from a larger modern open plan space office with views of the city. Not only did we have an office move but we have also worked on some fantastic assignments across the board with some particularly interesting campaigns including; · Director of Campus Infrastructure at Trinity College Dublin · Director of Campus Infrastructure at Trinity College Dublin · Director of Estates at Lancaster University · Director of Estates at the University of Bristol · Estates Director at the Girls’ Day School Trust · Head of FM at Ascot · Director of Estates at Royal Botanical Gardens Kew · Associate Director Planning at Countryside Properties · Group Strategic Land Director at Avant Homes · Regional Technical Director at Taylor Wimpey · Head of Regent Street Management Direct at JLL · Development Director at Argent We are also currently working with Twentytwo London for both their Head of Twentytwo and Soft Landings Manager campaigns and have ongoing campaigns with Essentia Trading Limited. And finally, we made 3 internal promotions this year all at Director level. We promoted Hayley Mintern and Stephanie Howe to Business Director and Ashley Evans to Associate Director. We also have some pretty exciting plans for growth and development in the next 12 months ahead so watch this space!
Independent Schools Challenges for independent schools in 2018/2019 I see a lot of school Bursars and Business Managers and the general feeling at the moment is there are lots of challenges in the sector as senior leaders look to future proof schools as a business. To me there seems to be some common themes running through all my conversations. Competition: There has always been tough competition within public schools with high regard put on academic standing. However, with the recent investment in the state sector and a number of parents struggling to meet the fees, academy trusts are now attracting families away from the independent sector. Running costs: There is a growing tension from parents as fees continue to increase, throughout the UK fee increases have exceeded inflation rates as they want to see value for money in the education that they are receiving. There are also large costs associated with running large estates and historic buildings. Many schools do not have the financial reserves for backlogged maintenance, and further developments and are highly reliant of third party providers in order to patch up the buildings and fire fight problems. Estates management: Good estates management is part of the jigsaw of running a highly successful school. For most schools their properties and estates are the most valuable asset, yet so many people I speak with too neglect this area. Many schools have previously relied upon third party provision and haven’t the expertise in-house. This is something that is changing and we are seeing estates experts coming into the team which help schools manage their estates. Additional revenue opportunities:Many schools are looking at opportunities that can create a surplus or subsidise the running cost. Raising funds form letting facilities outside of term time and out of hours can be hugely beneficial to a school, but also very costly if done wrong. We are seeing a raise of Commercial and Events Managers in the sector that are looking at new innovative ways to create additional income. Talent attraction:There is a changing landscape for school’s senior leadership teams, Bursars have to be commercially aware and ensure that an institution is future proofed. Long term financial strategies need to be in place. Long gone are days of the Bursar being an expert in all matters, Todays Bursar is more of CEO role and needs to have a team of experts across estates, operations, commercial, Marketing and IT. Schools are struggling to attract these skills sets from the private sector. I think that we will continue to see these challenges over the next few years as school’s leadership teams lay the foundations in order to ensure a sustainable future. Hayley Mintern, Director (Estates and Facilities Management).
The workplace is changing. Some organisations haven't quite come to terms with the demands for the new vision of "work". Appreciating that creating an environment which is focussed on personal development, cultural fulfilment and allowing individuality within a corporate organisation is a challenging concept but one which is critical to recruiting the best talent, retaining them and ensuring peak performance is achieved. On a micro scale, this has been achieved in small pockets and normally within SME's. It has not yet occurred on a large scale when encompassing a significant business campus or tower. Twentytwo seeks to be a place with office and social spaces that bring out the best in people. It has been designed from the outset with a sense of civic space and scale. Over 100,000 sq ft of space within Twentytwo is dedicated to supporting people and businesses with a variety of environments and services that enhance working life and productivity. The people behind Twentytwo "get" what the future of workplace looks like and it is hugely exciting not only from a real estate perspective but from a wider UK commerce perspective. For further information please see the links below or contact the Twentytwo recruitment partner on email@example.com - Head of Twentytwo Soft Landing Manager
The housebuilding industry in the UK has a big problem, a ticking demographic time bomb that could see the start of a new War for Talent in the sector. Around 20% of the workforce is due to retire in the next four or five years, and by definition those reaching retirement are typically the more senior individuals in a business. Depending on the make up any given company, this could be as high as 70%-80% of the company’s senior management structure. Natural attrition rates like this within business are nothing new, and in most circumstances, there are people coming through to succeed those hanging up their boots and swapping the office for the golf course or the beach. What makes the residential industry’s situation unique is what we saw happen in 2007-2008 because of the global financial crisis. Companies folded, regions closed, and those Companies that weathered the storm were reduced to skeleton staff levels almost overnight. Thousands of people were lost to the industry, and there then followed a fallow period for a number of years where limited new blood was brought in to the industry. This has resulted in a wide experience gap between the most senior people in the industry, and those looking to replace them. That is not to say that there aren’t good people coming through the ranks, but even with training and succession planning there just aren’t enough people with the right level of experience to fill all the holes that will soon start appearing at regional board level across the industry. There’s no substitute for experience, and that is especially true when problems arise. Whether it’s in Build, Technical, Commercial, Sales, or Land, experienced Directors are already a highly sought-after commodity, and soon they are going to be even more in demand. Employers need to be able stand out in a crowded and competitive market, companies that don’t regularly review their salary levels, or offer a better work life balance, could soon find themselves losing out when it comes to securing the best talent to fill those key senior positions. The housebuilding industry is heading in to unchartered territory and those companies that adapt their recruitment & retention strategies and implement effective management training & succession planning are going to be the ones best placed to diffuse the retirement time bomb. Nick Frost
Berkeley Homes Berkeley Homes were looking to recruit a Head of Technical for their Kidbrooke Regeneration scheme in East London. This was a tricky position to recruit for, partly due to the geographic location of the role and sensitive nature of the appointment. Following a successful meeting involving the taking of a full client brief, work was undertaken on this retained campaign. This consisted of a thorough mapping of potential candidates working in similar roles across the industry and systematically approaching them. A full candidate briefing pack was assembled and hosted online as well as a hard copy brochure by our marketing team and was issued to interested parties. Having articulated the proposition to the candidates, interview dates were set aside and managed with the client. Once a successful candidate had been selected, we fully managed the smooth on-boarding process, keeping in touch with both parties until the start of employment.
In the last 6 months Nanja has further developed the cost management division by expanding into international appointments. She has recently worked with an award-winning PQS Consultancy to appoint another Cost Consultant in their expanding New York office and also assisted in appointing a Senior Associate and Project Surveyors to their London office. The supply of talented Cost Managers to the London PQS market has been further bolstered by attracting talent from the South African market and placing them with some top tier consultancies in London. “I have continued to strengthen my long-term relationship with an independent & growing cost consultancy in London with various appointments into their London team. I have also been mandated to secure another Cost Manager for their expanding New York office, which we’ve just successfully completed, with further US appointments to follow in the next 12 months. Further traction on finding undiscovered resources for the talent hungry London market, was made by expanding my South African network of RICS accredited Chartered Surveyors and introducing another six Quantity Surveyors to the UK market via work permit sponsorship route to join various top tier consultancies in London.” – Nanja Fourie, Associate Director – PQS
On Monday 3rd July 2017 MRG celebrated its 10th birthday (you may recall our blog about this) The Management Recruitment Group celebrates its 10th Anniversary!. We started off the celebrations on Friday with our Summer Conference, held in the City; and attended by everyone from all three of our offices in Twickenham, Monument and Manchester. The conference began with a trip down memory lane from CEO Simon Cheshire and Chairman Rob Smith covering humble beginnings from MRG’s first ‘office’ (the Firestation Waterloo) through the years of recessions and Brexit to record breaking years and our highest ever headcount. Our FD Howard Bridgwater gave us ‘the story so far’ summarising the business’ first 10 years – from the first ever Search assignment, which impressively he managed to present in the form of poetry! We then had updates from our employee engagement programme, Marketing department (including a big announcement – to be revealed soon) and ran through our plan for the next five years before breaking out into groups for some team building challenges – concluding with our Summer Awards. This year we had four awards to give to four deserving team members (which was originally only ‘two’ awards, but we couldn’t separate the remarkable achievements of the candidates): (In 2017) - Most Improved Performance Award - Mel Pye Most Improved Performance Award - Nick Coppard Outstanding Performance Award - Stephanie Howe Outstanding Performance Award - Hayley Mintern After the Conference we took a short walk to Tower Pier where we hopped on the King Edward for dinner, drinks and music courtesy of City Cruises. Taking in views of HMS Belfast, The Shard, The Oxo Tower and the Tate Modern to name but a few, the whole team enjoyed a lovely three-course meal (and specially made MRG cake); all while punting up and down the Thames – to the backdrop of a specially created ’10 year’ Spotify playlist. Happy 10th birthday MRG!
The Management Recruitment Group started trading in July 10 years ago. Since our first day of trading 10 years ago, we have seen some huge milestones. We set out to build something a bit different. A hybrid between an Executive Search business and a recruitment agency. In 2007 we had six Consultants based in Twickenham. We now have a 40 strong team based over three locations (Twickenham, Monument and Manchester). We have invested a huge amount of time and money on core skills training, our social media networks and digital marketing campaigns and we have made huge improvements to our selection processes and systems. We are making more strategic level placements than ever. In the first half of 2017 we completed a record number of Director level appointments. These contacts are hiring managers, and become our key clients. We have grown year on year consistently, have broken records and have some of the best performers in the market. Not bad considering we launched the business the year before the worst financial crisis in history, (we are nothing if not resilient!). We have traded through a recession, a comprehensive spending review, three general elections and a Brexit. We are in good shape for 10 years young and looking forward to the next 10. The future for us is about doing the same again. It’s about continuing to recruit the best people, being kingmakers, following rigorous processes, using sophisticated selection systems and blending well established recruitment techniques with leading edge social and digital strategies that are right for 2017. Many thanks to all of our contacts and everyone who has supported us during the first 10 years. Here’s to the next 10!
The recent acquisition by BNP Real Estate of the ‘old school’ agent Strutt & Parker has got me thinking about how much of a change we have seen over the last decade within the London commercial property market and the agents and consultants that service it. Back in 2007, there were over 35 commercial agents with > £10m annual turnover. Today there are only 23. Over that period we have seen the likes of CBRE, JLL and co buy up some of the industry’s most recognisable names such as Dalgleish and King Sturge and the DTZ/Cushman Merger/Acquisition?? to name just a few of a huge number of M&A activity in the sector. These acquisitions make sense in theory. The idea being that the Goliaths can offer an integrated, global platform with a wider service offering. This makes sense and is true. However; Does something get lost in the process? There are those that argue that whether it be individual small retailers or large multinationals, clients are increasingly being left with less and less choice between agents and consultants. Is it true that with every acquisition dies another unique business (such as Strutts, King Sturge, Drivers Jonas) with its own culture and methodology and thus the offering to the market, in general, is becoming dull and generic? Whilst the big boys seem to be getting bigger, there are some small, niche practices that continue to offer their clients one or only a few services or cover a small region. I'm talking about the CWM’s and Munroe K’s of this world. These businesses offer their clients a very unique, highly experienced and honed service and level of personality that perhaps can’t be matched by the big boys. For this reason, I believe that there will always be a need for these types of firms. That leaves us with the middle ground. Where do the mid-sized firms sit? Will the Rapleys and Montagu Evans of the world continue to compete against the big boys and the small specialists? Again, it can be argued both ways. These firms offer a unique culture whilst also catering for a number of requirements and tend to have good regional reach. However, can they call themselves specialists? Do they offer a true turn-key service to their clients? They certainly can't offer a global platform. I guess only time will tell but I suspect that these firms as we know them will most likely not exist in another 10 years time and that the property market will go the way of accounting Big Four. Are we about to see property’s Big Four? I'd love to hear your thoughts, feel free to comment below or you can email me, call or visit us here. You can also follow us on Linkedin and Twitter. Or read some of our company blog's like our 10th anniversary here.
We are moving – not very far….. From Monday 30th April we are relocating our King William street office round the corner to 52-54 Gracechurch Street, EC3V 0EH. The new telephone number for our Gracechurch Street office is now 020 3962 9900.
Real Estate Management MRG were appointed by Real Estate Management (REM), the developers and asset managers of the iconic Shard, to hire a Head of Residential to oversee the ongoing management and ambitious growth aspirations for their prime and super-prime residential assets and development pipeline. A key strategic hire for the business, it was critical that the candidate possessed a unique combination of skill sets that encompassed, super prime experience, development, asset management and lettings. A thorough search was undertaken and a shortlist of five highly credible candidates were found and presented to REM. MRG managed the whole search process from client briefing, matching matrix, candidate information packs to long and shortlisting and the interview process. Ultimately REM chose a candidate that met their initial brief, all within the timeframes and budgets that MRG were originally set.