Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM) has evolved since Joroff developed his seminal framework of CREM evolution in the 1990s. According to this evolution, each stage forward adds additional activities to the job of a CREM department in their search for added strategic value and alignment. Along the five stages CREM departments move from a more operational towards a more strategic role. More recent research has shown that not all CRE departments have reached the highest step on the evolutionary ladder (the Business strategist stage). It remains unclear whether they might not want to do so or just lack the skills to perform the necessary activities.

The aim of this study was therefore to identify the necessary skills for important CREM activities for each evolutionary stage. Data was collected through a survey among 53 members of the Dutch network of CRE executives (CREME). Findings show that strategic CREM departments are more inclined to pursue employee satisfaction and –productivity, increasing innovation and promoting marketing & sales, while their operational counterpart aim more often at cost reduction, asset value, increasing flexibility and sustainability. Regarding important CREM activities, strategic CREM executives state portfolio management, strategic planning, contract and property management as most important, while their operational counterparts are focused more on administrative/financial management, acquisition & disposition and performance measurement. When identifying specific skills for their activities, again strategic CREM executives choose different skills than their operational counterparts for each activity.

The results of this research are useful for CREM in practice, but also for improving the content of real estate courses at universities and in practice. Future studies could identify time spend on activities and how skills improve actual performance of CREM departments.