REALTORMAG. REALTOR.ORG REALTOR® MAY/JUNE 2016 31
year. “Gee, what’s more attractive? I mean,
it’s easy for me to say, ‘Come join this great
profession.’ But I’ve been doing it for 18
years, and I can support my family.”
When he talks to young recruits, McKenna
promotes the 24/7 nature of the business, a
characteristic where they may have an edge
over a highly committed veteran. “Millennials typically are not
looking for work-life balance. Everything is work-life integration;
that’s why they have their phones attached to them at all times,”
he quips. “That fits the crazy real estate world remarkably well.”
Other young people may be attracted to the opportunity to
slowly ramp up their career. By rewriting the pejorative narrative
of the “part-time agent,” young people can feel freer to keep their
part-time contracting or bartending gig until they’re ready to
commit to being a full-time agent, McKenna says: “People who
are successful don’t see it as part-time or full-time. They say, ‘I
work at real estate every day.’ ” A sustainable career in real estate
the ultimate goal, Branchini says. “We need to make sure that we
provide them the tools and education to transition to full-time.”
Brokers reluctant to bring on younger agents can take solace
in knowing that reverse ageism seems to be
on the decline. McKenna says when he was
in his twenties, his parents would never have
sought his advice about major purchases.
“But people in my generation are used to
consulting a younger generation,” he says.
Likewise, younger agents increase the
potential for innovation, Branchini says. As her shared assis-
tants get a close look at the processes that make a brokerage
tick, their outsider’s view is vital. “We’ve got to shake things up,”
she says. Even if the assistants don’t stay with the brokerage
long-term, “no matter what, you get fresh perspective.”
Indeed, a new wave of practitioners can help the industry on
a broader scale as technological opportunities and challenges
continue to transform real estate. As MIT’s Saiz notes, the
exploding field of data science presents huge opportunities for
new players who balance a service-oriented mindset and cre-
ativity with an interest in engineering and big data applications.
“We’re going to need people who can leapfrog on those pro-
cesses,” he says, “without losing sight of the people-centered
“If we want to
survive, we have
to create a new
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