Where Are All The Men In Property Management?
I recently attended three functions in two days which discussed the topic of diversity in the workforce. It prompted me to think about the residential property management sector, which in South Australia rather than being male dominated (which is often the theme of such events), is heavily skewed towards women. Why is this the case?
I spent the early part of my career in residential property management working with 5 people, all women. My business, Edge Recruitment works with a large number of residential agencies and by far the majority of residential property management staff are women, as are most of the people that register with our organisation looking for property management roles.
Two factors that I see contributing to this include:
- Traditionally, property managers have worked their way through the ranks of a real estate office, from administration level, through to property management assistant, then into property management. As the majority of admin staff are female, this flows through into property management.
- Salaries are lower in residential property management compared to roles at an equivalent level of responsibility in other industries. If males are the main income producer (which has historically been the case, but is changing), the salary may not have been at a level which was sustainable, with a definite ceiling to the maximum amount that could be earned.
To get a different perspective, I spoke with Darren Hunter, one of Australia's most highly respected and foremost property management trainers. At the risk of starting a battle of the sexes, Darren believes it is primarily related to the ability of women to be better at multi-tasking. Women inherently have more to juggle on a daily basis outside of their work-life (often running a household, managing children, shopping, cooking etc.), and can transfer those skills to the fast-paced and diverse role that is residential property management.
Peter Treacy - Senior Property Manager at Harris Real Estate and winner (on more than one occasion) of REISA’s - Award for Excellence for Property Manager of the Year, is of a different opinion. He sees the historical nature of reception/admin staff being promoted into property management as a key contributor.
However, Peter believes there are more men coming into residential property management than ever before. He has observed that men aren't coming in at entry level, rather transitioning over from other industries in their 30's and 40's. This enables them to use their life skills and experience to cope better with the demands of property management. An increase in salary levels and raising the bar of the level of professionalism in the industry has also made the role more attractive as a career option.
Both men agree that the imbalance doesn't necessarily need to be addressed - that it is just the way it is. Research would tell us that diversity is generally seen as important to a balanced and productive workforce. The question of whether women are innately better property managers, and whether we need to address the issue of gender diversity in residential property management I will throw over to you! What are your thoughts?