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Many students have too ambitious salary expectations after completing their studies. Due to the corona pandemic, these ideas have been dampened somewhat, so that the expectations of the graduates have fallen by approx. 4% compared to the previous year, as the 2020 labor market survey of the Immobilien Zeitung has shown, "says Donatus Adepitan, real estate student at the HfWU gives us reason to believe that the salaries that company graduates are willing to pay in the corona pandemic have also fallen - and we wanted to investigate that. "

No sooner said than done: Adepitan and his fellow student Caroline Ziegler wrote to more than 1,700 real estate companies with a request for support: 630 real estate companies operating in Germany with a focus on the seven A cities of Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart as well as just under 1,000 housing companies and around 150 companies that took part in the university's career days. The survey ran from the beginning of December 2020 to mid-January 2021.

Originally, the junior staff not only wanted to ask about the development of starting salaries and the appropriateness of the salary expectations of graduates, but also about specific salary offers or salaries in absolute figures. However, they quickly abandoned this idea: They were too concerned that they would then hardly receive any usable results from their employers. And this fear was not unfounded: with 57 participants, the response was already rather manageable. The initiators of the survey speak of a "satisfactory response rate of 3.2% for a sensitive topic".

The results of the survey can therefore not be classified as representative. The survey still has findings that make one sit up and take notice. "The result was quite surprising: Hardly any of the 57 participants stated that their salaries had been corrected downwards due to the ongoing crisis!", Astonished Master's student Adepitan. His conclusion: "This clearly shows that even in this ongoing pandemic, the real estate industry as a whole has hardly lost any of its attractiveness for young academics and that training in the real estate industry is definitely a crisis-proof investment."

In terms of numbers, only two companies have cut asking entry salaries by 8% to 10% and more than 10%, respectively. However, seven companies did not answer the question, which leaves a certain amount of room for interpretation.

As good as it is for students to hear that employers in the industry do not save on graduate salaries, it is not the whole truth. Finally, it is not entirely unimportant which salaries are being discussed in absolute terms. And the survey says nothing about that.

Even more interesting is the question of whether what the companies are (still) ready to offer also corresponds to what the students envision. In turn, the survey does provide some illuminating information: It shows quite clearly that the salary expectations of many real estate graduates are too high. Way to high. At least to the liking of a large number of companies that took part in the survey.

An impressive 40% of the participating real estate companies (19 of 47, with ten abstentions) confirms in the survey the assumption that the salary expectations of the graduates differ from the offers of the (potential) employers - naturally upwards. Around half of the HR staff are confronted with deviations of up to 10%. The other half see the demands being 15%, 20%, 30% or even 40% above the offered starting salary. Mind you: The demands were made in the middle of the crisis, and hardly any employer has fundamentally corrected the starting salary downwards due to Corona.

A master’s degree is not automatically better paid in all companies

The survey of the HfWU students also brings to light other interesting aspects of the remuneration of beginners. For example, on the question that students often ask whether a master’s degree is worth more than a bachelor’s degree per se. Lo and behold: almost two thirds (63%) of the companies actually set a higher starting salary if a candidate brings a master’s degree from university with them. On the other hand, this also means that 37% of Master's graduates pay better at entry, not just because of this title, which, like Adepitan and Ziegler, can be found quite surprising: "Unexpectedly, Bachelor and Master graduates are often equal!"

Another question that students and especially graduates often ask is: Are newcomers paid according to a given salary scale or are salaries determined individually? The answer with regard to the HfWU survey: 36% pay according to the table, 64% individually.

Before the salary negotiation, however, there is the job search. "Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, I realized that it was really difficult." That was not just because of the hiring freeze, but simply because of the circumstances: "Some of my bachelor's fellow students who did not go straight to the master's degree had to be trained in the home office - but not all companies are ready to onboard newcomers in the home office", tells Adepitan.

Another result of the HfWU survey suggests that jobs for newcomers are still not as wide-spread as they were before the pandemic. "Did you have job interviews with young professionals during the Corona period and offered them a job?" Asked Adepitan and his fellow student. The answer: 19 of the 57 companies - exactly a third - did not do that.

And what does Adepitan want to earn in the year himself when he has a master's degree in real estate management under his belt? "With a master's, you might be somewhere around 50,000 euros - but I'll also take more."

How the salary demands of real estate graduates have developed in Corona times, what popular employers from the industry think of the salary expectations of the next generation and how many jobs there are still or again for beginners after one year of Corona can be read in IZ magazine real estate career, which will appear for the first time on May 27th.