The job sector is the broader area of commercial real estate within which a real estate position operates. Skills acquired in one sector are often transferable to another. For instance, skills learned in an asset management role in the industrial sector is highly transferable to an asset management position in the office sector. Likewise, the expertise gained underwriting commercial mortgages in the banking sector is valuable in an acquisitions role in the same sector. Finally, many firms specialize in more than one sector and so professionals working at those firms must learn to work across sectors.

Real Estate Job Sectors









Affordable Housing


Single Family



Senior/Congregate Care

According to the Cornell University/SelectLeaders real estate job barometer, the office sector was the most popular among applicants in 2014. 13.7% of all real estate applications were in the office sector, followed by 11.8% in multi-family, 6.6% in retail, and 4.3% in industrial. In terms of job opportunities, the office sector lagged behind the multi-family, retail, and single family sectors (see applications vs. job openings graph below).



Choosing the right sector for your career, is less about positioning yourself to benefit from future trends in real estate, than it is about following your interests. While certain sectors are projected to grow more than others, because of the transferability of skills across sectors I’d suggest you choose the sector that you find most interesting rather than try to guess where future opportunity might lie.

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Note: Many of the name conventions used in this series come from a report published by Cornell University and