Professional sportspeople turned real estate professionals at Knight Frank

Knight Frank has recruited a number of athletes to help achieve a goal of raising gender equity, as well as giving career opportunities to players outside their sporting careers.

The Announcement:

Several professional sportspeople have joined Knight Frank this year with a mutually beneficial relationship established between the recruits and the commercial property consultancy.

Grace Egan, an Australian Rules footballer who plays for Richmond in the AFL Women’s (AFLW) league, is Sales and Leasing Executive in Knight Frank’s Industrial Logistics team in Melbourne.

Mark Nicholls, an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, has recently started with Knight Frank’s Project Management team as Project Coordinator in the agency’s Sydney office.

Ally Morphett, who plays for the Sydney Swans in the AFLW has joined Knight Frank’s Student Program in Operations in the Sydney office,

Knight Frank Partner and Head of People and Culture, Kristin Hay said there were several reasons Knight Frank had recruited these three football players this year, including a goal of raising gender equity, as well as helping to give career opportunities to players outside and after their sporting careers.

“Our recruitment drive in this space was initially targeted towards female sportspeople at first as a way of improving the gender balance in the commercial property industry,” she said.

“However, in consulting with various football clubs we identified there was interest from a wide range of players, both female and male, young and more mature, in gaining experience and pursuing a career in the real estate industry post football.

“It is a mutually beneficial arrangement, with successful sportspeople having the personality attributes that can see them succeed in a sales-oriented environment, including resilience, discipline and being achievement-driven.

“We are also prepared to provide the flexibility and support needed for professional sportspeople, who are juggling work commitments along with training and playing games.”

Ms Egan works full time at Knight Frank, training four days a week for football after work and on weekends.

“I have always wanted to step foot into the real estate world but only ever thought of residential real estate, and those hours never worked well with football,” she said.

“When I heard about this position, I was very quick to jump at the opportunity to get into the industry.

“It’s exactly what I was wanting to do as a career and I have loved every second.

“The aspect I enjoy the most is being on the road meeting new people every day and building connections.

“I think real estate and sport complement each other in many ways, with one of the main ways being in relationship building.

“Football is an environment where you are constantly surrounded by multiple people who come and go, and come from all aspects of life, which is the same for real estate.”

Mr Nicholls works one day per week for Knight Frank in between training and playing games, and he credits the balance – and being able to work – with helping him to be successful on the field.

“Two days before every game, we always have a complete day off with no training or club activities,” he said.

“That’s the day I come into the Knight Frank Pitt Street office and become a project coordinator for the day.

“Personally, it’s a great way for me to get my mind away from footy, especially because it’s always two days before a game.

“I’m a big believer in having something other than footy.

“Early in my football career I was also going to university, and was playing great football coming through the pathways program at the Canberra Raiders.

“Once I made the NRL and graduated from university I didn’t do anything off field for a few years and they were my most unsuccessful years on the field.

“In the five years that I’ve been at Souths I worked some other jobs and then went back to university at QUT Online to do project management, and my football career has again become successful on the field.”

Mr Nicholls said he had always been interested in real estate, first wanting to be a builder before deciding to go to university instead.

“I studied project management most recently because I found big projects fascinating,” he said.

“I would love for Knight Frank to one day win the tender to project manage a new stadium; maybe even the 2032 Brisbane Olympics!”

He said he enjoyed the little things about working at Knight Frank.

“It’s silly, but really all I’ve known for 15 years is footy,” he said.

“The little things like putting on a suit, commuting to the city, having an office desk and meeting new people is unique for me.

“But the best thing is being a part of the Knight Frank project team and having the opportunity to help and learn off the project managers is what I’m really enjoying the most.”

Ms Morphett said she is loving her experience in real estate so far at Knight Frank, and getting a “healthy separation” from football.

“It’s very hard to find a workplace that is flexible around my football schedule, and that understands what it’s like being a professional athlete and the sacrifices you must make, but Knight Frank gets it,” she said.

“I am only working three days a week on the student program, which is very handy for me, because I try to work on the days I don’t train and have some downtime.

“This arrangement complements AFLW because we aren’t full-time athletes, and the majority of females have to work either full-time or part-time outside football.

“I hope to learn and grow more in the real estate world, and I hope to be in a comfortable position in real estate over the coming years.”

Ms Hay said Knight Frank was intending to recruit more sportspeople over the coming months, with ongoing conversations with the NSW Waratahs Women’s rugby team, of which Knight Frank was a principal partner.

“The Waratahs players don’t get a salary from playing rugby, so we are having conversations about how to get them a salary, as well as having pathways to a career.

“Following the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2022 to be held in September, we intend to host some information evenings to gauge player interest in a property career.”

Alex Opacic, Founder of Athlete2Business, a recruitment agency specialising in placing former professional athletes into businesses, said he spoke to hundreds of athletes on a weekly basis who were either looking for full-time work post-sport or part-time/flexible work to supplement their sports endeavours.

“We’ve partnered with many companies across Australia, including Knight Frank, who understand the commitments these athletes have and are willing to be flexible around their athletic schedules. This is brilliant to see,” he said.

“At the same time, almost all of our clients get a lot of value in return from these athletes.

“Their competitive nature, resilience, drive and motivation, work ethic, discipline, time management skills and ability to work in a team is a massive culture value add and plays a big factor in achieving revenue goals.”

Mr Opacic said demand from professional sportspeople for jobs was fairly equally spread across footy, rugby, cricket, basketball, soccer and various individual Olympic sports.

Source: Knight Frank

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