Engel & Völkers Insight Report : Recruiting Challenges & Opportunities 

Engel & Völkers Insight Report identifies key drivers that motivate an agent to make a brokerage change as well as what brokers can do to make sure they’re attracting and retaining the right talent

Engel & Völkers recently released the results of its study, “Insight Report: The State of Real Estate Recruiting.” As recruiting remains a top challenge across the real estate industry, Engel & Völkers surveyed more than 500 residential real estate agents to determine their level of satisfaction with their careers and current brokerages as well as motivations for making a move.


Key findings of the report include: 

  •          96% of agents surveyed are satisfied with their current job, 94% predict that they are likely to be with their same brokerage a year from now; and, 90% would recommend their brokerage to other agents.
  •          35% say they consider leaving their job at least once a year with the key drivers for switching brokerages being better commission splits, superior lead gen, and more coaching and mentorship.
  •          The top three benefits agents currently receive from their brokerage are: Physical office space (86%); Support from their brokers (83%); and, Innovative technology platforms (65%).
  •          The three things agents are the least satisfied with at their current brokerage are: Benefits (93%); Lead gen (81%); and Coaching/mentorship (67%).
  •          The top reason agents say they would join a new brokerage is for better commission splits (38%).

“While the average rate of job satisfaction in the U.S. hovers around 50 percent, a staggering 96 percent of real estate agent respondents reported satisfaction in their current positions,” said Anthony Hitt, president and CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas. “This makes it exceedingly important for brokers to be actively investing in their recruiting efforts. Top talent is not just going to walk through your door; brokers must make a concerted effort to continuously be in front of their current and prospective agents with value propositions that will resonate.”

Rethinking Commission Splits

The top reason agents said they would join a new brokerage was better splits. While this finding may not be surprising to many brokers, it is a sobering reminder about the misconceptions that agents have across the industry.

Engel & Völkers Insight Report

“Right now, the real estate industry is rife with brokerages willing to join a race to the bottom by offering excessively large splits in order to recruit agents,” added Hitt. “There needs to be a re-education around the fallacy that larger splits equate to more income. What agents may not realize is that larger splits often are an attempt to compensate for a weak value proposition, which leads to difficulty in attracting home buyers and sellers. There are no shortcuts. If a brokerage is offering a deal that is too good to be true … it probably is.” 

Recruiting Luxury Agents

The report also analyzed agents who specialize in luxury real estate and found that those who self-identify as being luxury agents have particularly high standards and expect more from any new brokerage that is looking to recruit them. Not only do these agents expect that the brokerage will invest in their individual marketing, new technologies, platforms, and professional development, they also understand the value of a brokerage’s brand reputation and ability to reach international buyers to increase their sales opportunities. 

Engel & Völkers Insight Report

“Brokers must not only identify the value they bring to their agents beyond splits, whether that’s mentorship, education, better listings, etc., they must also clearly communicate that value, ” summarized Hitt. “Brokers must have a meaningful omnichannel communications strategy–being active in their communities, showcasing their network of  current agents, hosting local events, and finding creative ways both online and offline to get in front of prospective talent on a continuous basis. This is the difference between talent recruitment and talent attraction.”  

Download the full report 


In partnership with Researchscape, Engel & Völkers Americas surveyed 566 sellers of residential real estate about their attitudes on current job satisfaction and what would potentially motivate them to make a change in their brokerage, during the period of March 1–23, 2018. Ninety-six percent of respondents sell residential real estate full time, 29 percent own a brokerage and 71 percent work for a brokerage.