Why is there a critical shortage of Property Managers?
Residential property management can be a rewarding as well as a challenging career choice, but it’s no secret that quality property managers can be difficult to find. This sector of the real estate industry has experienced a consistent shortage of quality, experienced property managers for several years now, leaving many real estate businesses struggling to maintain and grow their rent rolls. So why the relentless shortage?
Many in the industry would argue that until recently, property managers have been underpaid comparative to roles with similar levels of responsibility in other industries. This has been one of the causal factors of a consistent market shortage of quality job candidates in this area, as it is more challenging to attract people from outside of the industry to make a career change, with many considering it a less than attractive long-term career choice due to lower long term earning potential.
Smaller agencies often lack the time and resources needed to train up inexperienced staff, meaning they need to hire experienced people who are ready to hit the ground running. This creates a plug early on in the career pipeline for property managers, making it hard for inexperienced people to progress and is another contributing factor to the high demand/low supply issue.
The good news is there are positive changes on the horizon for the property management industry and improvements have already arrived.
The changes are:
- Salaries are up!
The last five years has seen an increase in salaries for property managers, due to a range of factors including a shortage of quality staff and an increased focus on property management department growth. Property management has traditionally attracted relatively low salaries compared with other industries. We’ve noticed a significant increase in salaries in that time (it was needed!) ·
- New Technology
There has also been an improvement in the variety and quality of software available with most property managers using mobile/tablet apps to conduct inspections, opens and for database management. This has helped to reduce administration and automate time consuming processes.
- Property Management Licensing
The arrival of property management licensing in South Australia will bring improved quality and accountability to the sector, requiring property managers to undertake additional training to become licensed by the due date of September 2019. Whilst most in the industry agree that the new laws are a positive for the industry going forward, in the short term they may exacerbate the shortage of property managers in the market, as some will choose not to undertake the additional study and leave the industry.
However this also offers opportunities for proactive individuals looking to build a career in property. Mary-Jane Massicci, senior recruitment consultant at Edge Recruitment says ‘property managers who are proactive and get their license completed early will have better opportunities to advance their career.’
Five years ago property managers were regularly being paid salaries of mid $40k’s. Today, a quality residential property manager with around 2-3 years’ experience can command mid $50k’s plus super and car allowance, with more experienced residential property managers attracting $60 - $65k plus super and car allowance. A better level of pay gives the industry the ability to attract quality employees from other industries who have already built skills in client service and administration, along with resilience and conflict resolution.
This market correction of salaries, together with greater regulation and support from the industry are positive steps that should see an improvement in the availability of quality property managers going forward.