Are health plans the latest agent recruiting tactic?
As brokerage firms vie to keep their top producers and boost agent counts, some are offering new benefits, including healthcare, to stay competitive.
This month, United Real Estate and The Real Brokerage announced new benefits packages for agents, including access to more affordable healthcare plans. The move reflects recent trends by brokerages to increase their agent offerings in an effort to recruit and retain top talent.
The perks: Earlier this month, The Real Brokerage announced a new partnership with Global Benefits Partners in the U.S. and Sterling Capital Brokers in Canada to provide a healthcare benefit to agents. Then last week, United Real Estate announced a partnership with Clearwater Benefits to also offer its agents healthcare plans.
Why it matters: Recruiting and retention have been key themes this year for big brokerages as the market remains in flux. Some firms have announced tweaks to revenue share models while others are providing financial incentives to attract entire teams.
Offering healthcare plans to agents — most of whom are independent contractors — along with other benefits typically only found in full-time W-2 jobs, is another way for brokerages to stay competitive.
Could others follow? Currently, very few real estate firms offer benefits typically found in traditional salaried jobs. NAR's most recent profile of real estate firms found that 79% of the firms surveyed do not offer health insurance to independent contractors/agents, and even fewer offer perks like a retirement plan, life insurance or paid time off. The results are similar for salaried agents, administrative staff and senior management.
Redfin may be the best-known large brokerage that employs its lead agents as full-time, salaried employees who are eligible for traditional benefits packages, including employer-subsidized health insurance.
Healthcare perk for agents may become more common as brokerages vie to keep their best agents and entice new ones to join.