Three in 30 Episode 3 Recap: Unpacking CRE’s Reputation Problem with Bryan Doyle

Bryan Doyle (Managing Director, Capital Markets at CBRE) tells us about the struggles of finding top talent in the post-Covid era, why no one wants to go into the office on Mondays and Fridays, and why you should be encouraging your kids to be Underwriters.

The world of commercial real estate is small

How small? Cozy enough to find ourselves in the happy circumstance of having both an industry fellow and friend on the podcast: Bryan Doyle. 

As a Managing Director with CBRE Capital Markets, Bryan oversees recruitment, training and management of Private Client Investment Sales and Mortgage Banking professionals across the U.S — he also leads several technology initiatives for the company. As Joe playfully points out, he brings with him a decidedly ‘Millennial’ perspective, and yet, his opinions on both talent and tech might surprise you. 

This episode, we lost track of time. What you won’t hear in the recording are stories about Zoom blunders, the joys of working from home with dogs, children (or both) and why Bryan chose to leave the great state of Iowa to attend college in Hawaii. But we promise, what’s left in the episode is just as good. Here are few excerpts from the show: 


One of the indisputable changes brought on by the pandemic was a massive acceleration of digital transformation in business. While this may have been a good thing in many cases, when it comes to real estate, Bryan notes that there’s no replacing the good old fashioned networking achieved by getting out there and rubbing elbows with people. And he’s got a point. All that traffic moved online and, now, things are busier and noisier than ever before – so much so, that we found ourselves warming up to the dreaded ‘cold call’. 

“I think we saw a while where the more modern tactics, the more modern prospecting, and what people can do over email and digital marketing were interesting aspects. If you don’t have clients and you don’t have business, you’ve got to go get ‘em. Connecting with people over the phone and in meetings is really the only way to build relationships. You know, I see this younger group finds that it’s easier to reach out over LinkedIn and over email but we’re all inundated with that stuff – in fact, it’s really a rarity to even receive a call.”


Who wants to go into the office on a Monday or a Friday? According to our sample size of three, no one. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t real value that’s lost when you’re working completely remote: 

“In the pandemic, the productivity we saw in work from home was drawing down on our balance sheet of training and knowledge and relationships…and that doesn’t last in perpetuity. You’ve got to refill that piggy bank at some point in order to do your job. And you fill that best together. You look at the younger groups — the future of our industry — they are the ones that were hired in the pandemic. They missed a year of training, visibility, and all that comes with it. Every job that I’ve ever had that was a significant move in my career was the result of having worked alongside somebody or built a relationship with somebody. Maybe that exists remotely, but in my experience that’s built in the office. I’m a big hybrid work proponent.”

For Bryan, it really comes down to people and relationships. He dives deep into the value gained by osmosis in the office – through knowledge learned and progress earned. 


If anyone is feeling the pain of the labor shortage right now, it’s Bryan. But as he points out, while this problem is not new for real estate — it’s only been exacerbated by the challenges brought on by the pandemic: 

“Tech was very exciting. There were huge opportunities there, the starting salaries and perks were phenomenal. Who didn’t want to work at Google and Facebook? There’s a shortage of analysts and underwriters in our industry and we’re losing talent to technology. Then you hit the pandemic and you aren’t able to train and hire like you used to be able to. It’s the hottest labor market that I’ve seen in my lifetime, but due to a confluence of factors, hiring and talent is definitely the biggest challenge that faces our industry right now.”

The bottom line? The industry is suffering from a bad rep, and Bryan’s working hard to change that. 

“We need to do a better job of illustrating the opportunities in our industry — these are great career paths. I don’t think anybody enters their Sophomore year of school thinking, “Gee, I just really want to be a commercial real estate underwriter!” But the truth is that I’ll whisper that to my son because, quite frankly, I think the starting pay is up there with Google if not better.” 


If you’ve heard that CRE is behind the times when it comes to tech, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Bryan makes it a point to defend the industry: sure, has the adoption been slower than its tech-happy RE cousin? Absolutely. But there might be a good reason for that. He notes that CRE’s cautious dip into the pool of technology comes from the deeper wisdom that one-size-fits-all simply won’t do versus a blind resistance to change. He is of the opinion that the tech is better than ever and the opportunity is ripe. 

“We need to do more with less. We have a staffing shortage — that’s not going to be solved overnight. We have problems that can be solved by technology and be solved by automation. I think integrations with data is the low hanging fruit and the real value add for the industry. There is real value in bringing it all together and putting it in people’s workflow.”

Listen to the full episode here. 

Lindsay Curry | Head of Marketing

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