Is Real Estate Investment Trusts a Good Career Path?

Is Real Estate Investment Trusts a Good Career Path?

You might be contemplating your future and asking yourself, “Is real estate investment trusts a good career path?” Rest assured, diving into the world of REITs can be an exciting, rewarding, and profitable career move.

The United States National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts estimates that REITs collectively own over $3 trillion in gross real estate assets. Imagine being a part of managing this extensive portfolio of properties. As an investment analyst, your day might be filled with scrutinizing potential opportunities and developing financial models. Alternatively, if you were an asset manager, you would focus on maximizing return on investments for the portfolio you oversee.

  1. Diverse Roles and Opportunities: Whether you’re an analyst, an asset manager, or in acquisitions, legal, compliance, or investor relations, REITs provide a wide variety of roles. There is always a niche where you can leverage your skills and continue to grow.
  2. Competitive Compensation: According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a real estate investment analyst is about $104,933 per year, and a portfolio manager earns around $159,979 per year. With the right experience and drive, there’s potential for even greater earning capacity.
  3. Ever-Evolving Industry: REITs have been a part of our economy since 1960, and they continue to evolve. With over 225 publicly-traded REITs, there are plenty of opportunities to make your mark.
  4. Engagement with Stakeholders: As a part of a REIT, you could be involved in communication with shareholders and potential investors about the organization’s performance and strategy. This allows for professional interaction and networking on a large scale.
  5. Making a Difference: REITs allow everyday people to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. By working in this field, you contribute to democratizing the investment process and letting more people take part in economic growth. Consider exploring opportunities in impact funds within the real estate sector to align your investments with socially responsible initiatives and contribute to positive environmental and social outcomes.

So, is a career path in real estate investment trusts a good one? Absolutely! With diverse roles, competitive salaries, and a dynamic industry, the opportunities for growth and success are abundant. Embark on your journey into REITs today for a fulfilling career tomorrow.

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Best Paying Jobs in Real Estate Investment Trusts

One of the key attractions of a career in real estate investment trusts (REITs) is the variety of roles available, each with its own unique responsibilities and growth opportunities.

The salaries in real estate investment trusts (REITs) can vary significantly depending on the role, level of experience, and the size and performance of the REIT. Here are some of the higher-paying jobs within REITs, along with their estimated average salaries:

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The CEO is the highest-ranking executive in a REIT. They make strategic decisions and oversee the entire operation. The average salary for a CEO in a REIT can range from $200,000 to over $1 million, depending on the size of the trust and bonuses, which can be substantial.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO is responsible for the financial health of the REIT. They manage financial risks, financial planning, and reporting, and work closely with the CEO on strategic decisions. The average salary for a CFO in a REIT can range from $150,000 to $500,000.

Real Estate Portfolio Manager

These professionals are responsible for managing the REIT’s real estate investments to achieve the best possible returns. The average salary for a Real Estate Portfolio Manager can range from $90,000 to $150,000.

Investor Relations Manager

These professionals are responsible for maintaining communication with shareholders and attracting new investors. The average salary for an Investor Relations Manager can range from $70,000 to $110,000.

Real Estate Analysts

These professionals are primarily responsible for analyzing potential real estate investment opportunities. This includes studying market trends, assessing the value of properties, and creating financial models to predict the profitability of an investment. They also provide critical data that supports decision-making processes for acquisitions. According to Payscale data from 2021, the average salary for a Real Estate Analyst in the U.S. is approximately $67,000 per year.

Asset Managers

Asset managers are responsible for managing a portfolio of properties to maximize return on investment. Their duties include negotiating leases, supervising property maintenance, and devising strategies to increase property value. They often work closely with property managers and leasing agents. The 2021 Payscale data reports the average salary for a Real Estate Asset Manager in the U.S. is around $97,000 per year.

Acquisitions Professionals

These professionals focus on expanding the REIT’s portfolio by identifying, analyzing, and acquiring new properties. They must have a keen understanding of real estate markets and strong negotiation skills. Their salary often comprises a base salary and a bonus upon successful completion of a deal. As of 2021, the average salary, including bonuses, for an Acquisitions Professional in the U.S. is around $100,000 per year.

Legal and Compliance Officers

These professionals ensure that the REIT is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. They also manage legal risk and handle any legal issues that may arise, such as disputes over contracts or property rights. The average salary for a Legal and Compliance Officer in a U.S. REIT, according to 2021 data, is around $110,000 per year.

These salaries can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, the specific REIT, the individual’s level of experience, and the overall state of the real estate market.

Financial Benefits of a Career in REITs

Is Real Estate Investment Trusts a Good Career Path?

The financial benefits of a career in real estate investment trusts (REITs) extend beyond just competitive salaries. They include the potential for performance-based bonuses, growth opportunities leading to higher pay, and exposure to the lucrative real estate investment industry. Here’s a detailed look at these financial benefits:

Competitive Salaries

REITs typically offer competitive salaries to their employees. For instance, as of 2021, a Real Estate Analyst’s average salary is approximately $67,000 per year, while a Real Estate Investment Portfolio Manager’s average salary is around $91,000 per year. The salary range for other roles such as asset managers, acquisitions professionals, legal and compliance officers, and investor relations professionals also offers attractive compensation packages.

Performance-Based Bonuses

Many roles within REITs, particularly those in acquisitions, asset management, and investor relations, often have a significant portion of their compensation tied to performance-based bonuses. These bonuses can substantially increase the overall earnings, especially when the REIT performs well.

Career Advancement and Pay Growth

The diverse roles within REITs provide ample room for career progression. As you gain experience and take on more responsibilities, your earning potential can significantly increase. For instance, someone starting as a Real Estate Analyst could eventually progress to a Portfolio Manager position, which typically carries a higher salary.

Exposure to Real Estate Investment Industry

Working in a REIT also provides valuable exposure to the lucrative real estate investment industry. This experience could pave the way for high-earning opportunities in real estate investment or portfolio management, and can potentially lead to profitable personal real estate investments.

Stock Options and Retirement Plans

Some REITs may also offer additional financial benefits such as stock options, allowing employees to invest in the company and potentially profit from its success. Moreover, like many corporations, REITs often provide retirement benefits, which can contribute to your long-term financial security.

While these financial benefits can make a career in REITs attractive, it’s essential to consider other factors like work-life balance, job satisfaction, and alignment with your long-term career goals.

The Dynamic Nature of the REIT Industry

The real estate investment trust (REIT) industry is inherently dynamic due to its connection with the real estate market, its responsiveness to the broader economy, and its constant evolution driven by regulatory changes and investor demands. Here’s a deeper look at these aspects:

Connection with the Real Estate Market

The value of REITs is closely tied to the real estate market, which is continually evolving due to factors such as urban development, demographic shifts, changes in property values, and trends in commercial and residential demand. Professionals in the REIT industry must stay informed about these changes to optimize investment strategies, making the job continually engaging and stimulating.

Responsiveness to the Broader Economy

REITs are not only influenced by the real estate market but also by the overall economy. Interest rates, inflation, employment rates, and economic growth all play significant roles in the profitability of real estate investments. These economic fluctuations require REIT professionals to regularly adjust their strategies and tactics, adding an exciting layer of complexity to their roles.

Regulatory Changes

Since its inception in 1960, REITs have undergone various regulatory changes that have reshaped the industry. For instance, changes in tax laws or securities regulations can have a significant impact on how REITs operate and how profitable they are. Keeping up with these changes is part of the dynamic nature of working in this industry.

Investor Demands

Over time, investor demands have also evolved. Investors are increasingly interested in sustainable and socially responsible investments, pushing REITs to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their investment strategies. Meeting these changing demands requires adaptability and forward-thinking.

Technological Advancements

The rise of prop-tech (property technology) has revolutionized how REITs operate. From utilizing big data and AI for property valuation and market analysis to implementing virtual reality for property tours, the industry is at the forefront of technological innovation. Staying updated with these advancements is vital, adding another dynamic aspect to careers in the industry.

The dynamic nature of the REIT industry ensures a career filled with continuous learning, growth, and adaptation to new challenges and opportunities.

Engaging with Stakeholders in REITs

In the world of real estate investment trusts (REITs), stakeholder engagement plays a vital role. Stakeholders in this context refer to anyone with an interest in the REIT’s performance, including shareholders, potential investors, tenants, employees, and even the communities in which the REIT operates. Here’s a deeper look into the importance of engaging with these stakeholders:

Shareholders and Potential Investors

REITs, particularly publicly-traded ones, are owned by shareholders who expect regular updates on the performance and strategic direction of the REIT. Investor relations professionals within REITs are tasked with maintaining open lines of communication, presenting financial results, explaining investment strategies, and addressing any concerns. This engagement is critical to maintaining investor confidence and attracting new investment.


Tenants are a vital stakeholder group, as their rent payments generate income for the REIT. Regular engagement with tenants can ensure that their needs are being met, which can help to maintain occupancy rates and stable revenue. It can also provide valuable feedback that can guide property management decisions.


Internal stakeholder engagement is just as important. Keeping employees informed and engaged can help to ensure smooth operations and a positive work environment. It can also help to attract and retain talent, which is crucial in a competitive industry like real estate investment.


REITs also have a responsibility to engage with the communities in which they operate. This can involve responding to local concerns, contributing to local development efforts, and ensuring that their operations are in line with community expectations and regulations.

Regulators and Industry Bodies

REITs must also maintain open and transparent communication with industry regulators and associations. This can help to ensure compliance with regulations, keep the REIT informed about any potential regulatory changes, and contribute to the broader development of the industry.

Through engaging with these stakeholders, REIT professionals can contribute to the overall success of the trust. It allows them to build relationships, understand different perspectives, and make more informed decisions. It’s part of the role that requires excellent communication skills, empathy, and a genuine interest in serving the needs of others.

Making a Difference with a Career in REITs

Choosing a career in real estate investment trusts (REITs) isn’t just about financial rewards or exciting work dynamics; it’s also about the positive impact you can make. This comes in several forms, from contributing to economic development to promoting sustainable practices. Let’s explore how a career in REITs can help you make a difference:

Economic Development

REITs play a critical role in driving economic growth. They allow both small and large investors to participate in real estate investment, which can fuel the development of infrastructure, residential buildings, commercial spaces, and even entire communities. By working in REITs, you’ll be a part of this economic development process.

Democratizing Real Estate Investment

Traditionally, investing in large-scale commercial properties was only accessible to wealthy individuals or institutional investors. REITs, however, have democratized this process by allowing anyone to invest in these properties by buying shares. This means that as a REIT professional, you are helping to create more equitable access to investment opportunities.

Promoting Sustainability

As the demand for environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings grows, many REITs are making concerted efforts to invest in green buildings and adopt sustainable practices. Working in such a REIT allows you to contribute to the fight against climate change and promote sustainability in the real estate industry.

Improving Living and Working Spaces

REITs often own and manage a variety of properties, from residential buildings to office spaces and shopping malls. By ensuring these spaces are safe, comfortable, and well-maintained, you can directly improve people’s living and working environments.

Community Engagement

Many REITs engage with their local communities, often providing support for local initiatives or charity efforts. This community engagement can range from developing affordable housing to supporting local schools or funding community events.

A career in REITs offers many opportunities to make a difference. Whether it’s through supporting economic growth, democratizing investment, promoting sustainability, improving spaces, or engaging with communities, you’ll have the chance to contribute positively to society while building a rewarding career.

In the ever-evolving world of real estate investment trusts, each day offers a new challenge, a new opportunity, and a new chance to make a difference. With a diverse range of roles, robust financial rewards, dynamic industry trends, engaging stakeholder interactions, and the ability to positively impact society, the path is an exciting one, packed with potential.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a career in REITs, however, is that you’re not just working for a paycheck. You’re a part of something bigger — helping shape cityscapes, contributing to local economies, making real estate investment accessible for all, and even working towards a more sustainable future. If these resonate with you, then a career in real estate investment trusts might be more than just a good path — it could be your calling.

Remember, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ career. But if you’re eager to work in a dynamic environment with diverse opportunities, and if making a tangible difference excites you, then the world of REITs awaits you, ready to turn your career into an incredible journey. So, is real estate investment trusts a good career path? It certainly is. But don’t just take our word for it, go ahead, step into this world, and experience the excitement for yourself.


Do I need a background in real estate to work in a REIT?

While having a background in real estate can be beneficial, many skills and experiences can be transferable to a career in REITs. For example, skills in financial analysis, project management, customer service, and communication can be valuable in many REIT roles.

What is the long-term career growth potential in REITs?

The diverse roles within REITs offer ample room for career progression. As you gain experience and take on more responsibilities, your earning potential and role can significantly increase.

How does working in REITs contribute to personal financial growth?

Beyond a competitive salary, REITs often offer performance-based bonuses, stock options, and retirement plans, all of which can contribute to personal financial growth. The experience you gain in REITs could also pave the way for high-earning opportunities in real estate investment or portfolio management.

Is a career in REITs challenging?

Working in REITs can be challenging due to the dynamic nature of the real estate market and the need to continually respond to changes in the economy and regulatory environment. However, these challenges also make the work exciting and rewarding, offering opportunities for continuous learning and growth.

What qualifications are needed for a career in REITs?

While specific qualifications can vary by role, many positions in REITs require a bachelor’s degree in fields such as finance, real estate, business administration, or economics. Some roles may also prefer or require a master’s degree or professional certifications like the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.

How can I start a career in REITs?

Starting a career in REITs often involves gaining relevant education in fields like finance, economics, or real estate. Entry-level positions such as an analyst role can be a good starting point. Networking, internships, and gaining familiarity with the real estate market can also be beneficial.

What skills are valuable in a REIT career?

Valuable skills in a REIT career include financial analysis, understanding of real estate markets, communication, negotiation, project management, and strategic thinking. Depending on the role, skills in sales, customer service, or legal knowledge may also be important.

What’s the work environment like in REITs?

The work environment in REITs can be fast-paced and dynamic, due to the nature of the real estate market and the need to respond to economic trends. It often involves collaboration with diverse teams and communication with various stakeholders.

How stable is a career in REITs?

The stability of a career in REITs can depend on factors like the performance of the real estate market and the broader economy. However, the demand for real estate and thus, the need for REITs remains consistent, making it a relatively stable industry overall.

Is there a demand for professionals in the REIT industry?

Yes, the demand for professionals in the REIT industry remains strong. As the real estate market continues to grow and evolve, there is a need for skilled professionals to manage and maximize the value of real estate investments.

Can I work in REITs without a background in real estate?

Yes, while a background in real estate can be beneficial, it’s not always necessary. Many skills and experiences can be transferable to a career in REITs. For example, roles in finance, project management, legal, or customer service can provide a solid foundation for a REIT career.

Do REITs provide opportunities for professional development?

Yes, many REITs invest in their employees’ professional development by providing opportunities for training, mentorship, and career advancement. They may also support employees in obtaining professional certifications or further education.

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Bella Duckworth

Bella Duckworth

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“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid

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