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THE JOB market might be tight but commercial real estate companies are having trouble finding extra staff as they gear up for an improving market. Just down the road at Jones Lang LaSalle, managing director Nick Hargreaves is facing a problem of finding the right staff but on a larger scale compared to competitors. Jones Lang is a multinational company that provides a full range of property-related services such as valuations, and property and project management, as well as sales and leasing work. Hargreaves said he needs to recruit about 40 new staff by June as the company expands its activities in New Zealand, but he's not finding it easy. "I don't think a marked improvement in the market was evident last year but I think everyone's starting to smell it now," he said. "There isn't the deal flow that's making it obvious yet, but there's more investment inquiry and that needs managing. Organisations like us invest in what's coming next and we believe we can smell the wind shift." Hargreaves said he wants to recruit people across the business but is looking for more than just technical skills. "In sales, we want experience; in leasing, you want energy; in property management, you want detail junkies; and in valuation, you want people who are good at managing confidential information. "But what connects them all is that they need to be good at making connections and managing relationships. "I always say property is all about putting people together and by the way, there's some property involved. "Most people just want a job where they get feed work. They'll come in at 9am and look at their in-tray and do the work. We want people who take life by the throat." But finding them is not easy. "It takes a lot of work," Hargreaves said, and he was not confident he would have all the people he needed by June. But he was sure about the coming lift in business that would create the need for them. "At the end of last year, we transacted a lot of stuff at above- book value, so people are becoming more confident. "Everyone's had their money under the mattress. Now they are getting back to bricks and mortar."
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