How do you find real estate developers who are hiring?

Everyone you will ever meet, will know something you don’t.
— Bill Nye

He’s professional and prepared.  Sitting with his leatherbound notebook and sharp suit, he tells me he has researched on-line and on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), all the major real estate developers in Canada to find out who was hiring.  I knew right away, he had only seen the tip of the iceberg of opportunities.  Unfortunately, he like many other young professionals have missed over 90% of the real estate employers in just the Toronto development community.  I knew this because, there are over 800 developers in the Toronto area alone.  I will show you how this young professional’s job searches missed so many companies.  Then I will point out some tips on how you can best connect with these firms for job opportunities. 

The challenge in finding info on real estate development firms, is that many of them are not well known.  Although they create millions of jobs and invest billions into projects across Canada; commercial developers generally market to large companies not to the general public.  The public only sees the iceberg tip of real estate employers.  While just below the surface there are over 1800 real estate firm offices in Canada.

Scanning publicly traded real estate companies does not give a complete picture of the number of real estate development firms in Canada either.  Most developers don’t often seek stock exchange listings, because they need more patient capital sources.  Before, you run to google, you will find that many commercial developers’ websites are focused on projects and provide only sales personnel contacts. 

I recently sat down with J Anderson Winton, a highly respected former executive recruiter, specializing in the real estate industry.  He has placed ‘C’ level real estate executives across Canada and the U.S. over several decades and has a firm grasp on the depth and breadth of developers across the country.  He has stepped back from the recruiting business, but to help others make contacts in the industry, he has created a directory of real estate executives (  His directory database is updated regularly with over 5,900 contacts; Presidents, Vice Presidents, Partners, and other executives developing and managing Office, Industrial, and Shopping Centre portfolios across Canada.  (For a discount on his directory, email me at

Now that you have a source, what should you do with that information?  There are many paths to job search success, but I will tell you what you don’t do.  Don’t jump to cold call companies you have not researched. Don’t send out a generic resume to a 100 companies, hoping they guess what position you are interested in.  Those are job search strategies that generally fast track your resume to the delete file.  

Many firms’ development portfolios are organized around asset classes and/or geography.  Start by deciding where your skills and interests can contribute the most to a prospective employer.  For example if you went to University on the East coast but are settling in Toronto to start your career, look for firms based in Toronto, with East coast projects.  Do your research and prepare to impress them with your curiosity and knowledge of their development goals.  

Real estate development firms are not easily found on the internet or the TSX stock exchange listing.  This breed of entrepreneurs can be found in thousands of companies across Canada. If you wish to see the complete iceberg, start with broadest list you can find and select target firms that have a good fit for your experience.

Andrew Garrett