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.