Stellar turnout for the preview party of Property Week’s list of 100 rising stars under 35

Social media, bonuses, the Olympics and clearing up the mess of previous property generations were the key topics of conversation among almost 300 under-35s at the launch of Property Week’s Hot 100 on Tuesday 17 July.

Held at Hot 100 sponsor and law firm Irwin Mitchell’s City of London office, the event was attended by more than 50 members of the Hot 100 list of the most promising under-35s in UK real estate, plus nominees who didn’t make the final cut.

British Land chief investment officer Steve Smith was guest speaker. He is acknowledged as one of the best commentators on the property market over the last 40 years while at the Prudential, Axa and now the FTSE 100-listed REIT, British Land.

He explained how, starting out at the Prudential in 1970, he had arrived for an interview as an accountant, but due to an HR department mistake was sent for an interview with the head of property, where he was offered a job as a trainee surveyor.

“Property in those days was filled with ex-RAF men driving 3.5 litre Rovers at breakneck pace around the City — after a long lunch. So much has changed,” he said, adding other features remained.

“Many of the game-changing events come about through accidents or unforeseen circumstances. The rule of thumb has to be: accept, adapt and move on. Real estate is a business of ups and downs, in which it’s easy to become complacent at the peak and deflated when things aren’t going so well.”

Smith believes the sector will stagger on with a steady recovery over two years.

“We’ve managed to survive the global crisis with the majority of our key institutions intact, and with some modest economic stimulus we’ll see more activity in markets,” he added.

When it comes to hiring under-35s, Smith said:”I’m looking for consistency, for people with conviction, but with the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. So, I’m looking for people who are consistent and flexible, as well as talented and results-focused.”


Property is about people — don’t underestimate it

Making your way in today’s property industry is by no means easy. In our difficult economic environment not only are jobs harder to come by and competition ever more fierce, but living in our major cities has become increasingly expensive, making it difficult for young people to get started in their careers.


At Irwin Mitchell, we are delighted to be supporting Property Week’s Hot 100, giving a boost to those under-35s who have shown determination through hard work and skill to forge their careers in property.

We see this as an essential part of our commitment to this industry where it is vital to promote and nurture the young talent of tomorrow.

Whether you are a rising quantity or investment surveyor, agent or architect or even lawyer, you need not only to be technically sound in your specialism, but to know how the property market works on a fundamental level. You need to know how property fits into the global environment, what changes to banking regulations are going to mean, how new government policies affect planning issues — and certainly reading your favourite property magazine will help you get to grips with an ever-changing marketplace and the role you play within it.

It is important to remember that property is about people and networking, seeing and being seen, and getting on with your colleagues and peers enables you to stand out. A good reputation and personal skills, combined with technical expertise enable you to secure that deal or win a particular piece of business. Don’t underestimate it.

Thank you Property Week for acknowledging the property stars of tomorrow and congratulations to all those who have been voted into the Hot 100. Long may the warm glow continue!

Jon Vivian is head of real estate at Irwin Mitchell