Adviser switches staff to valuation, Europe and Middle East

DTZ is redeploying staff from struggling UK departments to more profitable overseas locations.

As part of the ‘mobility programme’, staff at the global services company – typically at associate director and surveyor level, and from a range of departments – could move to areas such as valuation, where there are vacancies to fill, and to overseas offices in Europe and the Middle East.

Robert Peto, DTZ’s UK chief, said: ‘We are, like all our competitors, moving people from areas where there is not as much demand as there was before to areas where there is client demand and money to be made.

‘There is more stress in the [UK] domestic market now and more energy elsewhere.

‘There is not a shortlist of people who are moving, but some people within the business are being redeployed. We have a big mobility programme to move people overseas to strengthen those departments.’

The programme follows speculation since the end of last year that members of DTZ’s regional investment teams were being given a choice of sabbatical overseas or redeployment to other areas as alternatives to redundancy.

Peto strenuously denied this rumour as ‘pure speculation’, and said DTZ’s attrition rate of between 10% and 15% was no higher than at any other time and was comparable to its competitors.

He said no member of staff would be given an ultimatum and no one would be forced to go overseas. He added that senior management sometimes identified staff to move, but individuals could also ask to be posted to other offices.

‘It is not that our UK staff are surplus to our requirements,’ he said. ‘But there are demands from our operations in the Middle East, Russia and Asia, where there is more activity and they are crying out for people. We can’t fill those offices quickly enough.’

He added that it was often the high-flying staff who are posted to overseas offices, as such moves involve a sharp learning curve.

‘Most people jump at the opportunity of widening their horizons,’ he said.

Peto said it was also sometimes cheaper to move DTZ staff between offices than to recruit locally.

Last month DTZ issued a profit warning stating that its full-year results would be ‘significantly below’ market expectations, which caused a slide in its share price.

Property Week contacted five of the other big services firms about redistributing staff. All said they had no plans in place. A spokesman for CB Richard Ellis said it was actually planning to recruit investment agents in the UK and overseas.