Is it easy to move around and work for different developers?

I'm wondering how easy it is to go from working with one developer to hopping to another over the course of your career? I thinking it's not that easy just because opportunities to work with a developer are already sparse as it is, especially a role like development manager.

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Comments (5)

May 13, 2022 - 4:31pm
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What is your specific question?  If you're asking whether the skill set is transferable, the answer is a resounding yes.

If you're asking if it's possible/advisable to bounce around more than a couple times to leverage that experience, like you'd do in banking (or brokerage, for a industry closer to hand) then the answer is a lot more negative.   Development deals take years to entitle, build, and stabilize, and if you are continually bailing and leaving your firm reeling to find someone to pick up your slack because you're only 60% done with construction and now they've got to get someone up to speed in like, a week, or start seeing delays, that reputation will get around.  Who is going to hire you to run this extremely risky, extremely capital intensive project if you're not going to see it through?

  • Manager in RE - Comm
May 15, 2022 - 10:39pm

I'm speaking more in the general sense of being able to actually move around, not how marketable the skills are. More in the sense of how easy is it to leave one role because of reasons like comp, culture, hours, etc. for another shop locally within my market, or region at least. I'm in LA if that makes a difference.

May 16, 2022 - 10:25am
Ozymandia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm speaking more in the general sense of being able to actually move around, not how marketable the skills are. More in the sense of how easy is it to leave one role because of reasons like comp, culture, hours, etc. for another shop locally within my market, or region at least. I'm in LA if that makes a difference.

Did you read my response?  Because you will find my answer there.

Most Helpful
May 13, 2022 - 9:04pm
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Manager in RE - Comm

opportunities to work with a developer are already sparse as it is, especially a role like development manager.

So, these roles are hard to get IF.... you do not have legit development experience, if you do... you are valuable unless the market is just cratering (even then, it's probably a short term problem). Development is hard to break into even with tangential experience (like brokerage, architecture, const. mngt, etc.), because most devcos are small in people terms even if doing huge deals. So much is project based meaning just about everything that can be outsourced (including raising the capital via a relationship with an investment management firm) is outsourced. So each team managing what could be $100s of millions projects could be just a few with some centralized/corporate support. 

Since the firms and teams are small (even at the big firms often), they don't have much time or resources to train new people. Hence breaking in is your challenge. Unlike banks and brokerages, you don't see much college recruiting for this reason, no desire to train and needs are usually just a few per year on average. It is critical to understand this is the nature of the development industry and it is very different from much of the rest of the real estate industry. There is not an equivalent concept of "mega funds" or "bulge brackets", sometimes you see people attempt this from a "prestige" concept by throwing out the names of firms like Hines, Related, and Trammel Crow... but trust me.... those actually in the industry don't think like that (not even sure if those brokerage/invest. mngt actually think that way once beyond associate level....).

Thus to your question....... YES of course people move around from developer to developer... happens all the time. Most firms will target other firms employees to snipe people. And unlike in the equity fund or brokerage world, it is actually not at all uncommon to see people go from "smaller/lesser" firms to "bigger/better" firms, it's a war for talent and happens all the time. Clearly, if you are mid-project have have bonuses/LTIP or incentives tied to projects, it can be very painful to leave until they go full cycle (like walking from six figure payouts may be required, the next firm may not want to just cash that into a sign-on bonus). So, when people are between projects, they are most apt to leave (if this is a factor, at the bigger more institutional devcos, it won't be until in a senior role, usually beyond development manager). 

  • Manager in RE - Comm
May 15, 2022 - 11:05pm

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