Property & real estate is more than selling land, houses or commercial property. It entails everything from planning and development to construction and marketing. So, whether you see yourself as a classic Kirsty or Phil or are looking at doing something a little different, this industry has a lot to offer.
In fact, according to the British Property Federation, real estate contributes almost £100bn to the UK economy every year.
Whether you want to train to become a quantity surveyor, have ambitions to become an architect, have an eye for commercial planning and development, or just want to work in the industry in a head office, the career opportunities available are vast and allow for excellent progression.
Apply for Real Estate Internships, Placements and Graduate Jobs
Internships and Placements in Property and Real Estate
The UK commercial real estate industry directly employs over 1 million people.
In such a competitive market, having work experience is essential to stand out. No matter which field you study in, it’s worth exploring real estate and property internships and placements as companies take on students across several disciplines.
Embarking on work experience with a relevant company will not only help you develop your skills through practical projects but also let you understand the industry, giving you a taste of your future career. And, if you decide it’s not for you, that’s cool too! But there’s only one way to truly find out.
"The work I completed will benefit my final year of university significantly. I developed my understanding in modules that I had studied in my second year, and was able to put this knowledge to practical use. I was able to fine tune my understanding of certain subjects, and developed my confidence within networking. The connections I have made whilst working for Savills have been fantastic and will be very helpful to my future career and development." Sandwich Placement Student, Savills
Types of property and real estate work experience
Like a box of Roses, there are several different flavours of property internships for you to get your teeth stuck into.
Some university degrees will offer placement years as part of their courses. Taking place between the penultimate and final years of uni, a placement year (also known as a sandwich year or sandwich placement) is a chance to get some real industry experience in the middle of your degree.
With companies including Savills and placements ranging from surveying to consultancy, you should explore this as an option if you want to get a headstart on other candidates when you graduate.
Savills are a great example of how enjoyable and diverse property sandwich years can be. You could choose their Town Planning placement for example, and be involved in major urban real estate projects, or you could take a look at the Surveying placement and gain some experience in a highly competitive area.
Real Estate Internships
Property internships, on the other hand, are shorter in length. Ranging from a few weeks to a few months, you’ll still get a real taste of the industry whilst committing less of your time… so you can still spend a lot of your summer playing video games and going to the pub!
Property internships usually accept students from various disciplines and students at different stages of their degrees. CBRE offers a well-renowned property internship.
CBRE place their interns alongside current graduates and professionals to give a complete insight into the property world. You’ll not only be involved in a real estate agent’s day-to-day activities but you’ll also get pitch training that will help you make those sales further down the line. Think Selling Sunset!
Residential property internships
Residential real estate is a term that refers to any work on buildings that are going to be lived in. So the field is understandably pretty huge! In fact, the UK government currently has targets to build 300,000 new houses per year.
Residential property internships give a real insight into this world, with tasks including handling admin for property management and learning about property sales.
Commercial property internships
This sector of real estate is fast-paced and super exciting and was recently valued at over £755 billion worldwide. So it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about.
The CBRE commercial property internship, for example, allows you to explore everything from investment to property valuation. You’ll learn about developments and work with market leaders and specialists.
Property surveyor work experience
Building surveyors are responsible for assessing the quality of buildings and providing ideas for improvement. They’ll help to design buildings for people with disability needs and preserve historic buildings — super interesting work. And, with the average salary sitting at £48,000, this is a sought-after industry!
Property surveyor placements are a crucial way to gain the all-important hands-on experience. After all, you can know everything there is to know about buildings in theory - but without seeing issues in person, you’ll struggle to put your knowledge to work.
The benefits of working in real estate
Work experience in this sector could involve being on-site across the country or in a small design studio designing the next big commercial development. It’s varied and no two days are the same. Plus as a social industry, it’ll involve a lot of networking, collaboration and meeting people.
You’ll need to be commercially savvy, as these industries thrive on completing deals for various clients.
But one thing’s for sure... You’ll return to university after an internship or placement year with what you need to complete your dissertation. And, if you decide property and real estate are not for you, you’ll have learned a bunch of transferable skills that companies in other industries will value highly.
"The level of responsibility the company have been willing to place on me throughout my tenure has also been very reassuring and emphasises the trust that Barratt has in its young professionals. The beauty of the placement programme is the exposure it gives to various roles. Within my first few months at the company I worked closely with the Buying team, which resulted in us receiving a quarterly team award in the process." Nathaniel Crinson, Quantity Surveyor placement student
How to find property and real estate internships
We have plenty of property and real estate placements and internships on our jobs board. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find your perfect match.
Companies with relevant work experience include:
If you want to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what it's like to work in real estate, we play host to thousands of student-written reviews. They’re super insightful.
What is a property graduate job?
Property graduate jobs are your first step onto the permanent career ladder once you finish university and get your degree. They:
Introduce you to the industry
Let you build relationships
Take on responsibilities
Develop soft and hard skills that employers are looking for.
Most students get into property without having a background in real estate. Others will have done a placement or an internship. Either way is totally fine. Employers don’t expect you to be an expert in your field right away. But they do expect you to bring transferable skills to the role.
Are property graduate jobs paid?
A big resounding yes! Property graduate jobs pay anything between £25,000 - £27,000 a year depending on your employer, experience and location. A London-based company will naturally pay more than a Birmingham-based one because the cost of living is higher in the capital.
Remember, this is your first graduate job. So the more experience you gain, the more you’ll earn. If you work your way up to becoming a successful real estate agent, you could be looking at a £95K a year salary! What a whopper.
Want a graduate job in the property sector? Here’s a lovely bunch of employers to choose from:
How long do property graduate jobs last?
As long as you like! Graduate jobs are designed to give you experience and a stepping stone on the career ladder. Some of you will progress with the company. Others will try something new. There’s no time limit on a graduate job. You move on when you’re ready.
That said, it’s not uncommon for people to stay with the same employer for 30 years. Especially if you love your role and team. Just saying!
What’s the difference between a property graduate job and a property graduate scheme?
In theory, graduate jobs and graduate schemes are similar as they’re both aimed at university leavers. However, there are noteworthy differences between them which we’ll explore below.
Permanent VS temporary
One to three years long
Allow you to work in different teams
Offer you a permanent contract at the end of your programme if you deliver on projects.
Permanent from day one
Do not involve rotations. You’re hired for a specific role in a specific team
You choose how long you stay.
Structured and cyclical, with tons of training opportunities available.
Less structured, standard training given if needed
You’ll work side by side with a manager who’ll monitor your progress regularly.
Multiple application stages (including psychometric tests and assessment centres).
Simpler application process
All you need is a graduate CV and graduate cover letter.
Applications open between September and November
Assessment centres take place in January
Your scheme begins the following year.
Advertised all year round
Apply as and when the role becomes available.