The Skinny of the Apartment Industry

That’s not a typo in the headline since this post really is about the comparatively skinny people of the apartment industry. According to this piece at  TheAtlantic.com the “real estate, rental and leasing” industry is one the less obese in the country:

Obesity Prevalence Percentage by Industry from TheAtlantic.com

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to conclude that if you adjusted for age then the industry might not come out looking quite as good. In other words the industry is full of very young people and that likely helps at least partially explain the low numbers. On the other hand, the study tends to show a correlation between tough work conditions and the rate of obesity so it’s also not a stretch to see this as good news for the industry. No one’s saying property management is not a stressful job, but compared to working for the government or in the health care industry it seems like a pretty good deal.

The Coming Apartment Industry Leadership Vacuum

PTAA member Emily Goodman wrote a very thought provoking piece for Multifamily Insider about what the future holds for leaders in property management. In a nutshell there appears to be a pretty high likelihood of a leadership vacuum within ten years:

In his talk to IREM, Mr. Lee made several thought provoking observations, but one in particular stands out for its value to those of us in the industry.  Mr. Lee predicts that in the course of the next ten years, our industry will face an exodus of founders, senior-level executives, and experienced professionals. He forecasts that by 2025 more than 65% of present senior leaders will have left their roles. Mr. Lee comments that, “the combination of the exiting Boomers and a lack of infusion of young/next-generation talent (Xers who aren’t ready and Ys who are still learning) will result in a potential talent vacuum.”

Further evidence from federal labor data indicates that the numbers of jobs in the real estate industry have been growing at a minimal level for some time. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of real estate and community association managers had increased from 145,340 to 150,850, a gain of only around 5,500 at a time of growth within the industry.In addition, projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that real estate property management will have an average of only 7,800 new job openings per year up to 2018.This presents challenges both to those seeking to gain entry to the industry, but also to those already working to differentiate themselves from their peers in order to excel in their chosen career.

Emily rightly points to the importance of young professionals in the industry to take control of their careers and pursue professional education opportunities.  She’s the current president of the local IREM chapter and highlights the IREM Certified Property Manager designation, and of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the excellent designation programs offered by the National Apartment Association both online and through PTAA – National Apartment Leasing Professional, Certified Apartment Maintenance Technician,  Certified Apartment Manager and Certified Apartment Portfolio Surpervisor.

Truly there will be fantastic career opportunities in the apartment industry for those who are willing to invest in their futures. The combination of mass retirements of current senior executives, and the relative lack of incoming talent means that those who do take the initiative now will rise to top a few years down the road.

What the Future Holds for Apartment Industry Careers

According to this post on NAA’s blog, explosive growth is forecast for the apartment industry and one result may be a shortage of qualified employees that could lead to a sharp increase in on-site pay:

Our industry is so broad and so diverse that we accommodate people with a wide variety of experiences. For example, John says one big area of growth is in the information technology departments of property management companies. They need data analysts who can help them sort through information and use it to better run their business. He also expects the industry will see continued demand for service and maintenance personnel. We may even see a shortage as the applicant pool for these positions shrinks. That’s alarming.
Property managers know maintenance staff are critical members of a community’s team. They are the ones who are on the front lines of customer service and who often interact the most with residents. The low wages typical of manual service jobs may be deterring people from pursuing these positions, he says.
 
That may soon change. To attract and retain the best talent, John says, companies are realizing they have to increase salaries. He predicts the industry will soon see significant pay increases, especially for on-site staff. “If you’re trying to complete for the top level talent, you have to pay to play.”

Apartment Careers Month in the Piedmont and North Carolina

The National Apartment Association’s Education Institute has declared February Apartment Careers Month, and there are several ways members of the North Carolina the apartment industry are helping to promote it:

  • Members of PTAA are participating in six high school career fairs in Guilford County.
  • The mayors of High Point, Winston-Salem and Greensboro have issued proclamations declaring February Apartment Careers Month.
  • Mayor Perdue has declared February Apartment Careers Month in North Carolina.
  • GCAA is hosting an apartment career fair for college students on February 22 (details here)

Tami Fossum, chair of the Apartment Careers Month Committee for the National Apartment Association and vice president for management services for Blue Ridge Companies in High Point, had this to say about the Apartment Careers Month:

“The goal of Apartment Careers Month is to promote and advocate the multi-family housing industry as a viable and desirable career path,” said Fossum. “Many colleges throughout the country are now offering residential property management as a major and an increasing number of schools are considering adding curriculum related to the apartment industry.”