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Demand for chief technology officers in property set to surge

Research from Intertrust, which provides global administrative services, has revealed that 66% of real estate professionals predict a big jump in demand for chief technology officers in the sector, over the next 5 years, as the challenge to find senior talent to leverage disruptive technology increases.

Intertrust surveyed over 500 executives covering asset management, corporate, capital markets and private wealth sectors to identify the impact that disruptive technology is having on jobs and skills in the sector.

Key findings include:

  • 44% surveyed believe that by 2023 most firms in their sector will have hired CTOs with a mandate to drive strategic change, by harnessing the benefits of technologies such as AI, blockchain and robotics.  A further 22% expect that a minority of firms will have done so
  • 38% of real estate professionals admitted that just keeping up to date with the latest technology innovations was a challenge
  • The biggest skills shortages are in data analytics at 57%, followed by artificial intelligence at 36%, regulatory technology and compliance at 32% and blockchain 32%
  • 19% of real estate industry decision-makers said their firm is currently recruiting for a CTO-level role and upskilling existing staff to capitalise on emerging technologies
  • A further 26% said their firm doesn’t currently recognise the need to recruit technology leaders or invest in new training.
  • 22% said that their organisations were finding it challenging to recruit tech talent, highlighting the difficulties in attracting candidates with the appropriate skill sets

Jon Barratt, head of real estate, Intertrust said: “There is little doubt that we will see more CTOs emerge within the real estate investment sector with a clear mandate to drive transformational change. With many firms struggling to keep up with the latest developments in emerging technologies let alone seek a competitive advantage, the question will increasingly become when, rather than whether, to make new senior hires to devise the right strategy and implementation programme.

“Firms delaying their investment in appointing new CTOs with influence at the top table, or not doing so at all, risk losing out on the best candidates and falling behind their peers. Given the competition for technology leaders from other sectors outside real estate, the necessary skills, particularly in high-demand areas such as AI, regulatory tech and compliance are not always in ready supply. With the gulf in performance between digital leaders and laggards growing rapidly, firms can’t afford to be too complacent about their place in the technology revolution.”

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