Nina Zeilerbauer, co-founder of Madison Berkeley on how she got started in the property industry, her cultural recommendations, her number-one travel destination and what she would do with a million pounds.
How did you join the property industry?
I’ve loved buildings and architecture since first coming to London. As soon as I arrived, the juxtaposition between my upbringing in rural Scotland and the bright lights struck me and I fully embraced city life. I’ve always been fascinated by how communities interact with the spaces they live and work in, and I’m very grateful to have forged a career in real estate recruitment where I can be so involved in the sector and its future.
What does your job entail?
In essence, it is making matches between our clients and potential employees, and going the extra mile to really get under the skin of what both parties are looking for to ensure these matches are successful in the long term. As a business, we understand that cultural fit is as important as technical ability and hence pride ourselves on spending the time to get to know our candidates and clients properly. We’re also committed to really understanding what makes our industry tick and staying abreast of new changes in order to give the best advice, which in this rapidly evolving world can be a challenge.
What do you like most about the property industry?
It is extremely multi-faceted. Over the last two years, I’ve really enjoyed placing people into the industrial sector at a time when the end-product has been so vital to people’s daily lives with the huge rise in ecommerce and need for online shopping during the lockdowns. I also love that real estate is so tangible. When I walk around King’s Cross or Soho or Battersea it’s amazing to know that the people we have placed have an impact on these areas that will last for years.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of diversity remains a major issue, but I do feel that after many years the impetus for change is now genuine and widespread.
What would you change about the property industry?
I’m really excited about 2022 as some of the changes I’m passionate about are happening. The pandemic hasn’t had many positive outcomes but it has accelerated changes that were already afoot in the way we work, such as technology enabling more efficiency, increased flexibility from employers regarding a degree of home-working and the subsequent narrowing of the gender pay gap.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
When the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, all the roles we were working on at the time went on hold or were cancelled, and as a relatively new business with employees and suppliers to support it was an incredibly stressful time. To have navigated our way through this without having to furlough anyone and to be entering 2022 with a team that has since doubled in size gives me a lot of confidence in our business model.
What are you most proud of in your career?
In an industry that is just 13% female, I am exceptionally proud of the fact that Madison Berkeley has placed 50:50 females to males since we launched four years ago.
What do you value in people?
Honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic and the willingness to communicate openly however difficult the situation. Not taking yourself too seriously and a sense of humour also help.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Be willing to throw yourself into all aspects of a new role and learn as much as possible from those around you, even if they aren’t on the same team as you. Keep your options as open as possible. There are many career paths open in RE and what you enter the industry thinking you want to do may well dramatically evolve, so remain open-minded while you’re in the early stages of your career.