Work for a REIT: How Many Jobs Are Available in Real Estate Investment Trusts?

The labor market landscape has significantly shifted over the past few years. Employers once held significant leverage over the market to the point where job-seekers would find a job and then move to whichever city was required.

Now, employees hold more bargaining power, and many first decide on a city they want to live in, move there, and find a job once they are settled.

Employees are catered for because it is much cheaper and easier for large corporations to keep on current employees than hire new ones.

This paradigm shift has given long-time employees that aren’t used to having a voice the opportunity to test the market and even shift into a new industry altogether!

Working in real estate investment trusts (or REITs) has become popular among professionals seeking a different career path as more and more people see the opportunity to learn and eventually invest in the real estate industry.

What Are Real Estate Investment Trusts?

A real estate investment trust is a type of security that uses public funds raised through offerings listed on major stock exchanges to acquire and manage income-producing real estate assets.

For casual investors or individuals that still need more money to purchase physical real estate property, an investment in a REIT provides a great alternative.

Simply put, a real estate investment trust is a company that owns a portfolio of real estate assets. When you buy shares of a REIT, you are purchasing a share of their portfolio, similar to buying the stock of any publicly traded company. So while you don’t own the actual real estate, you own a portion of the company that owns and operates the real estate.

How Many Jobs Are Available in Real Estate Investment Trusts?

REITs hire portfolio managers, investment analysts, property managers, leasing consultants, real estate sales supervisors, property appraisers, development associates, acquisitions managers, investor relations specialists, and more. REITs employ an estimated 307,000 full-time employees in the US who collectively earn approximately $22.7 billion in income each year. The industry is large enough, but how can professionals maximize their income potential here? Employees should not only land the best-paying jobs but also try to learn as much as possible about the real estate industry so as to invest in their own commercial properties and boost their income further!

What Are The Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts?

The best-paying jobs in real estate investment trusts are asset manager, development manager, acquisitions manager, and investor relations. While these titles require some experience and know-how, they do not require a degree in real estate.

With that said, a degree in finance, specifically real estate finance, is a great way to get your first opportunity with a real estate investment trust. Typically, this will be as an analyst, allowing you to work with asset managers, property managers, and other real estate professionals.

As you immerse yourself in real estate investing and learn how it works, you will gain the experience necessary to move up to these top-paying positions.

Asset Manager

Asset management is essential for real estate investment trusts. It ensures each property within its portfolio operates smoothly and meets certain investment expectations. As an asset manager for a REIT, you’ll likely assume duties over a portfolio within a particular sector, such as retail shopping centers, office towers, or industrial parks.

Senior Asset Managers in the US can expect to earn between $127,000 and $265,000 annually, according to Comparably. As part of the job, you’ll need to be able to review financial reports and budgets, oversee property managers, hire and assist leasing consultants, and make certain strategic decisions related to the health of each property.

Development Manager

While asset management jobs consist of maintaining an existing asset, a development manager is in charge of construction when building new facilities. For instance, a REIT might hire you to manage the construction of 10 Starbucks projects across their portfolio.

A development manager can expect to earn somewhere in the range between $115,000 and $200,000 per year, according to Investing Fuse. Typically, a trust will expect you to have some development experience to be considered for this position, as there are many moving parts in development.

You can expect to manage projects from start to finish, which means coordinating with engineers, architects, attornies, tenants, contractors, leasing consultants, and local authorities. To excel as a development manager, you will need to be very organized and keep everyone on task to meet numerous deadlines.

Acquisitions Manager

REITs are constantly looking to raise investment capital to purchase new property. They may also decide to sell a property or portfolio and exchange it for a new one. An acquisitions manager will help the REIT source new deals that provide a good return for their investors.

An acquisitions manager usually has a background as a REIT analyst who is used to looking at thousands of investment opportunities. Most REIT analysts possess a bachelor’s degree and gain experience looking for commercial real estate properties that generate income.

Acquisitions managers typically cash in on a salary between $93,000 and $163,000, according to Glassdoor. Additional bonuses depend on the number of transactions you can source.

Investor Relations

Finally, a career as an investor relations specialist rounds out our list of best-paying jobs in the REIT industry. Each trust has strict regulatory rules and guidelines that require plenty of care and planning.

Investor relations allows you to work directly with investors to keep them updated on current assets and financial performance and provide feedback on where the company is headed. People like to keep a close eye on their investments, and it will be your job to ensure they are happy with the company’s business dealings.

A job in investor relations pays within a range of $184,762 and $247,915, according to Aside from interacting with investors and answering their specific questions, you will be responsible for compiling many financial reports and status updates detailing certain business activities and investment strategies.

What REIT Jobs Are Available?

If you browse the various search engines, you’ll find plenty of jobs available working at a real estate investment trust. Opportunities such as analyst, property manager, leasing consultant, real estate attorney, and more will come up for you to research.

With that said, we recommend going through the list of REITs included in this article and calling each of them individually to ask about job opportunities within their organization. It is the best way to get in front of the right people who will eventually decide whether to hire you.

So while job postings are accessible on the internet and are a great way to get some initial applications in, take the time to make contact with each company to make an effort to schedule some face-to-face time.

How Many Real Estate Investment Trusts Are There?

According to Stock Market MBA, 170 real estate investment trusts currently operate in the US, with a market cap of more than $1.3 trillion.

Check out the complete list as you start job hunting, and pay attention to the types of trusts. Consider the status of the real estate market and each sector before contacting trusts about potential job opportunities.

For instance, avoid an office REIT following the pandemic, as most look for ways to save money and offset losses due to higher vacancy rates. On the flip side, you may have some experience in the industrial sector and should reach out to Prologis, Public Storage, and First Industrial Realty Trust.

What Are The Best Real Estate Investment Trusts?

As a commercial real estate agent with over ten years of experience in the business, I’m going to give you my favorite REITs to consider when looking for jobs. My list is solely based on my opinion in dealing with them directly. Of course, I have yet to deal directly with all 170 REITs, so I’ll only include those I have encountered.

With that said, here are the top REITs I recommend reaching out to based on my personal experience in dealing with them:


As the largest REIT based on market cap, Prologis always operates efficiently and honestly. Their people seem happy to be doing what they do and are trained appropriately to get the job done.

Simon Property Group

I haven’t dealt with Simon much, but in the few instances I’ve interacted with them, I get the sense they treat their employees well. Simon has struggled over the years with some failing mall properties, but I would be willing to bet their people are why they pulled through.

AvalonBay Communities

AvalonBay owns excellent properties and instills a sense of community in their apartments and workforce. I have not had a bad experience with AvalonBay. Also, they are growing quickly.

Kimco Realty Corporation

From what I can gather, Kimco operates a well-oiled machine that thrives as a commercial property owner through its people. They have a welcoming corporate culture that suits industry newcomers.

Rounding out my list of respected REITs are the following:

  • Sun Communities
  • Mid-America Apartment Communities
  • Regency Centers Corporation
  • American Campus Communities
  • Life Storage
  • National Retail Properties
  • Brixmor Property Group
  • Agree Realty Corporation
  • Apple Hospitality REIT
  • Highwoods Properties
  • SITE Centers Corp
  • SL Green Realty
  • JBG Smith Properties
  • Acadia Realty Trust
  • Brandywine Realty Trust

How to Position Yourself To Become a Real Estate Investment Trust Professional

How do you put yourself in a position to get hired as a commercial real estate professional working at a REIT? Well, you’ll need to tighten up your resume. It helps to have a real estate finance background or other industry experience, but it’s not necessary.

Talk with as many other real estate professionals as possible before applying to a REIT. We know there are only 170 real estate investment trusts in the United States, so, likely, you’ll only get one shot to impress each one.

From there, call down the REIT list and keep a spreadsheet of each hiring manager you connect with. Get their phone and email, and continue following up. They may not be hiring right away, but you must stay on top of these people if you want to get one of the best-paying jobs available. The first touch can be your resume, then a month or so later, shoot them another email with some comments about a press release they issued.

Gaining market knowledge and learning the terminology will help you when you eventually work your way into an interview room at one of these larger REITs. They will be able to sense whether or not you have any idea about what you’re talking about.

Continue to build relationships in the industry, and sooner or later, one of these leads will open the door to a great job that will have you up and away. 

Final Thoughts

So get out there and start meeting with people to understand how the commercial real estate business works and what companies are looking for as they interview their next round of potential employees. If you’re serious about working at a real estate investment trust, stick with it and continue to make contact with people in the company.

I’ve found that most commercial real estate companies hire based on likeability and work ethic instead of credentials and test scores. Indeed, those can help, but are you willing to put in the effort to build a real relationship? If you are, you’re ready for success as the next employee of a thriving REIT!

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

About the Author

Michael Morris
+ posts