Top UK agencies are set to welcome a bumper crop of new graduates next month – with many expected to join the booming residential sector.

University graduates

Source: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

The agencies were asked by Property Week to provide their graduate intake numbers for this year compared with 2020 and 2019.

Savills said it was expecting to take on 120 graduate recruits in September, compared with 106 in 2020, but down on 2019, when the firm took on 127 graduates.

CBRE said it planned to take on 48 graduates this year, up from 43 in 2020 and 26 in 2019.

While JLL did not provide exact numbers, it said it would be taking on 40% more graduates starting in September 2021 compared with 2020.

Knight Frank said it would be taking on 51 graduates this year, up from 42 in 2020 and 35 in 2019.

However, not all agencies have increased their intake. Colliers said it would be taking on 24 new starters, made up of graduates, non-graduates and apprentices, down from 28 in 2020.

Meanwhile, Gerald Eve said its intake, a mixture of graduates, apprentices and work placement students, would total 21 new arrivals, the same as 2020.

Avison Young did not provide a year-on- year comparison, but said that it welcomed 21 previously deferred graduates into the business in May and that it has since taken on another 10 over the summer.

BNP Paribas said it would be taking on 26 graduates this year, but did not provide a comparison with the previous year.

Cushman & Wakefield said it would not disclose details but that “hiring more high-quality graduates is an important component of our talent strategy”.

Most agencies said they were planning to induct graduates in the office and then move to a hybrid home-office model.

Commenting on the intake figures, Elaine Tooke, a lecturer and real estate careers co-ordinator at Oxford Brookes University, told Property Week: “The residential market has completely taken o and a lot of the students are now starting their careers in that eld.

“I’d say there has been a de nite increase in students going into residential, either in the bigger agency firms or just purely residential firms.”

Responses in full from each agency:

Avison Young

Richard Malkin, AY UK Head of Talent Management, said: “In May we welcomed 21 previously deferred graduates into the business and have since taken on another 10 over the summer. We are also looking into opportunities for several additional graduates to join us between now and the end of the year.

Our graduates will be working within the hybrid approach that we have adopted across our UK business, splitting time between office-based and remote working. This will ensure they experience our people-first culture amongst their peers, and benefit from in-person learning, networking and mentorship, while having access to the flexibility and work life balance important to their mental and physical wellbeing. We also try to ensure that they grow friendship groups and have opportunities to interact with their colleagues by organising regional and national Graduate Days and other events across the year.”

BNP Paribas

A BNP Paribas Real Estate spokesperson said: “As a business we think it is incredibly important to support early talent who are interested in a career within real estate. This is why we are currently busy refreshing and developing further our Early Talent and Apprentice programmes, as we move into our Next Chapter workplace. These programmes will create more opportunities for people looking to start or develop their career in real estate, taking into account non-traditional routes and social mobility in the industry. Further details about our commitment to early talent will be announced later in the year.”


A CBRE spokesperson said: “CBRE will be welcoming 48 new graduates in September, which is larger than our intake last year. Our graduates will be predominately working in the office or on client sites but will be given the flexibility of working elsewhere when needed.”


Lydia Ings, HR director, Colliers, said: “Our early careers intake is a new programme launched in line with our commitment to encourage greater diversity in our industry and align the next generation of Colliers with the future needs of our clients.

“The programme complements our traditional graduate intake and widens the pool of talent available to us by recognising that you don’t have to have a degree in Real Estate to become a successful commercial property advisor. Instead, this new pathway focuses on skills of a more analytical nature, attracting a more diverse pool of young professionals with experience in sales or professional services, for example. These transferable skills can be nurtured and developed here at Colliers to provide analytical support to our key capital markets departments, enhancing our overall service offering and adding greater value to our clients.”

Cushman & Wakefield

A spokesman for Cushman & Wakefield, said: “We wouldn’t disclose precise recruitment information but hiring more high quality graduates is an important component of our talent strategy. For all our UK employees, including our graduates, we have a continued focus on a progressive approach to flexible and agile working.”

Gerald Eve

Helen Foley, HR director of Gerald Eve, said: “Graduates and apprentices are of great importance to the firm’s future, and we’re pleased to be maintaining our intake at the same level as last year. In-person training is vital when starting a new career, and we have designed our programme to fit into our wider hybrid working guidelines and ensure this cohort receive the face-to-face training and network building they need to thrive, and we benefit from their new ideas and being able to collaborate together.”


Kweku Yankson, HR Director UK & Ireland, JLL, said: “Bringing new, diverse talent through the industry is a must. The graduate scheme is one element of our early careers approach, which is critical to our people strategy and business growth. We’ve worked hard in recent years to build a strong graduate offering, and are always looking for ways to improve and innovate. We’re awaiting the outcome of an additional graduate assessment centre this week, and it’s anticipated we’ll have approx. 40% more graduates starting with us in September 2021, when compared to 2020. Our 2021 cohort will have their induction in the office, and will subsequently work within our hybrid model.”

Knight Frank

A Knight Frank spokesperson said: “We are taking on 51 Graduates this year, this is across all areas – rural, valuations, building surveying, planning and various offices – Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh. This is an increase on last year as we have included additional departments – planning and building surveying. The graduates will be based in the offices and there will be an in-person induction at the end of September


A Savills spokesperson said: “Savills has offered 120 graduate roles for September 2021, this is an increase on 2020 when the firm took on 106 graduate recruits. Savills finds that most graduates prefer to attend offices where possible, to ensure that mentoring, training and team building is carried out face to face, however there will also be opportunities for agile working in the majority of teams.”