What it does: Digital advertising company
Staff stats: Around 1500
The good bits: Great people, perks, & bold aspirations
The not so good bits: Frantic pace, long hours
The REA Group story
REA Group is one of Australia’s start-up success stories. In the classic fashion, it was started by “two guys in a garage” in 1995. At a time when most Australians weren’t even on the Internet and it was assumed that the old-school media companies Fairfax and News Ltd had a lock on property listings, the two guys in question came up with the idea of creating a website – www.realestate.com.au – where property owners could advertise (effectively and cheaply) and those seeking to buy or rent a home could search efficiently for what they wanted.
We all know how the battle between the complacent print media and upstart online listing companies turned out. (Though it should be noted Rupert Murdoch was smart enough to take a majority stake in what’s now REA Group not too long after it started eating his newspapers’ lunch.)
As well as www.realestate.com.au, REA Group now owns several related businesses in Australia – www.realcommercial.com.au, www.flatmates.com.au and www.spacely.com.au.Through its ownership of iProperty Group, the company owns several Asian property websites. It also owns the Chinese property site myfun.com and has a significant stake in (the US property site) Move, Inc and (Indian property site) Prop Tiger.
REA Group is now an ASX-listed company that describes itself as “a market-leading digital media business specialising in property”. In 2016, it had revenue of $630 million.
REA Group is an increasingly global company. It believes “differences in cultural and ethnic backgrounds, gender, disability, age and sexual orientation generate creativity”. Creativity that is crucial to the company maintaining its success and pursuing new business opportunities. The company has rolled out internal awareness and education campaigns to reduce unconscious bias and promote “consciously inclusive behaviours”. It hopes to have an equitable gender split in its senior leadership team by the end of 2018. Currently, around 40 per cent of the workforce, including the CEO, are women.
All staff have access to an “industry-leading, gender-neutral parental leave” scheme. This includes six months leave at full pay for the primary carer and three months leave at full pay for the secondary career. There is also a month-long ‘return to work’ transition period where new parents are only required to work 75 percent of their normal hours but receive 100 per cent of their normal pay.
In 2016 the company launched a ‘Spectrums of Equality’ network. This is “designed to create awareness, provide education, and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community at REA Group”.
REA Group has focused its corporate social responsibility program on assisting those without secure housing. It partners with Launch Housing and Orange Sky Australia. These organisations, respectively, help women and children at risk of homelessness into safe, affordable housing and provide laundry facilities and showers to those living on the streets.
REA Group supports the ‘Ask Izzy’ website, which connects “vulnerable people with critical services when they need them most”. It has also provided funding for The Big Issue and Red Cross.
It offers a Matched Payroll Giving program, where staff can donate to charities of their choice (with their contributions matched dollar for dollar). Staff can request that REA Group provide an ‘Employee Community Grant’ of up to $1500 to any community organisation they are involved in. Paid volunteer leave is also offered.
The recruitment process
REA Group operates in a fast-paced, dynamic industry. Accordingly, it seeks “uber-talented grads” with “a challenge-hungry mindset”. Grads who can play a part in “delivering cutting-edge products across all our websites and mobile apps” and who will help “push the boundary on experiences for our customers”.
REA Group offers the following four grad programs.
*IT Graduate Program. This involves being “exposed to all aspects of our technology business with a focus on software development”.
*UX and Design Graduate Program. This involves “defining amazing user experience (UX) solutions and user interfaces for online and native mobile/tablet experiences”.
*Data Analytics Graduate Program. This involves “all parts of the analytical process from data exploration, application of appropriate analysis technique/s, identification of insights and communication of results to stakeholders”.
*Business Analyst Graduate Program. This involves “bringing new products to market from new concept and requirements through specification, development, testing and release”.
The recruitment process for all programs begins with an online application. The following stages are gamified cognitive testing, a video interview and an assessment day involving technical and behavioural interviews.
Whichever program they are doing, all grads get a buddy, mentor and ‘rotation lead’ (who manages them and provides feedback during a rotation). They are also signed up to a ‘Program Coordination Group’, which facilitates learning across their program.
It’s hard to find out exactly what salaries REA offers. But reports suggest staff earn above industry average salaries and get impressive bonuses. Perks in their Melbourne head office include office showers, a bike cage, sleep pods, a “garage with musical instruments” and an “innovation hub full of new cool Virtual Reality toys”. There are massages, prayer rooms and parent’s rooms and lots of free fruit and coffee machines. As well as a subsidised gym membership, staff have access to onsite boxing, yoga and meditation classes.
Staff also get the day off on their birthday.
REA Group has long enjoyed strong growth and profitability and there’s little reason to believe the party is going to end anytime soon. Which means there should be plenty of opportunities for career advancement, either in Australia or elsewhere.
REA Group is committed to creating “an environment that supports learning, growth and innovation” where employees can flourish. It has a range of development programs that will “build on your capabilities to ensure you have the skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed and thrive”.
The vibe of the place
Like most tech businesses, REA Group invests in keeping its skilled workers happy and engaged. It strives to “create a culture that supports our people and helps them reach their full potential”. Staff are encouraged to work collaboratively and, wherever appropriate, in cross-disciplinary teams. There are a lot of opportunities to socialise ranging from attending Friday night drinks to joining a book club or cycling group.
From the Employer:
"We are the umbrella company for a whole range of property companies. We are more than a website and mobile app, we are a digital disrupter. We look for ways to use our smarts and technologies, our great ideas and our innovations to bring consumers amazing experiences.
REA came to life just over 20 years ago born out of an idea from two guys in a garage and in that time we have shaped the online experience for anyone and everyone who cares about property.
Listed on the ASX, we are a multinational digital advertising business specialising in property. REA Group operates Australia’s leading residential and commercial property websites, realestate.com.au , realcommercial.com.au, flatmates.com.au and spacely.com.au, Chinese property site myfun.com and a number of property portals in Asia via its ownership of iProperty Group. We also have a significant shareholding in US based Move, Inc and PropTiger in India.
To sum it up in one sentence, our people are alive, authentic and all over it!
What does that mean? Well, we empower all our people by creating an environment that supports learning, growth and innovation so people can come to work and do their best.
Our graduate programs are not about “meat on seats”! We are focused on nurturing and developing our graduates from day 1. This starts with O(n) Week where you will spend a week out of the office getting to know the other grads and gaining an insight into the way we work (You will have heard an Agile way of working being mentioned a lot, you will get a full insight into its principles).
Support throughout the programs comes from:
- Graduate Buddy – To show you the ropes and be a sounding board.
- Mentor – To provide regular coaching and feedback to ensure you are meeting your development objectives.
- Rotation Lead – Provide challenging work and responsible for your experience during a rotation.
- Program Coordination Group – Facilitate learning across the program and monitoring engagement and performance.
We have 4 technology grad program streams:
- Software Developers and Engineering
- Data Science and Data Analytics
- UX Design
- Business Analyst"