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The latest advice, news and events from Edge

Why Facilities Managers Love Their Jobs 

04/02/2021

According to SEEK, facilities managers are one of the most highly rated careers in the property industry in terms of job satisfaction. So why is facilities management (FM) such an attractive career prospect? We hear from an industry expert and give you the inside stats on FM.  

With good prospects for job growth in coming years and an attractive salary range, it’s no wonder that facilities managers (FMs) rate themselves a 4.1 out of 5 in terms of job satisfaction. 

Responsibilities 

A facilities manager is responsible for the operational control of buildings and other assets in retail, commercial and industrial settings. They coordinate the maintenance and repairs in order to provide a safe, secure and clean environment for its occupants. Other duties include project management of capital upgrades, overseeing the management of contracts such as cleaning, security and fire services, budgeting, health and safety, managing energy efficiency and compliance. 

John GerschwitzGeneral Manager at Universal FM gives his thoughts on this sector of the property industry. ‘What I love about facilities management is that no two days are the same and I get the opportunity to help and support people as they go about their day-to-day lives. In my role I need to think outside the square, come up with new processes, try new things and continuously improve.  

It is a well-respected profession and is essential to ensure critical infrastructure is maintained, serviced and repaired in a safe environment. Facilities management also provides the possibility to relocate and opportunities to progress.’  

Salary And Job Opportunities 

Facilities management is a career that has the potential to earn a 6-figure salary. In South Australia, the average annual salary for a Facilities Manager is between $100k and $120k. 

According to SEEK, projected job growth for facilities management over the next 5 years is 6.4%, showing there will be plenty of demand for facilities managers going forward.  

There are currently 41 facilities management jobs advertised in South Australia and 1030 jobs advertised Australia wide, indicating strong demand for facilities managers and excellent prospects for those wishing to enter the industry.   

Facilities Management As A Career

Facilities management roles do not typically require formal qualifications, however, many FMs have done professional development in areas such as Work Health & Safety and Project Management, etc. FMs with qualifications in the Diploma of Property Services (Asset and Facility Management) or the Diploma of Facilities Management will be highly regarded by employers. In South Australia, we see some FMs that have transitioned from a mechanical engineering background and we see this most often in applicants from overseas.  

In the past, many facility managers have come from a trade background, but the increased focus on compliance, energy efficiency and contract management has required FM’s to have very competent administration and computer skills, on top of strong technical knowledge.  

If you’re looking at career options in the property industry, facilities management looks like an attractive career choice, showing high levels of job satisfaction, good job prospects, and excellent salary potential. 

Source: Statistics included sourced from SEEK 

Why Candidates Are More Cautious Than Ever

30/11/2020

How has job seeker behaviour changed in the era of COVID-19 and why? In the current market, job seekers are taking a more conservative approach to their careers and are less willing to change jobs.  

With the unemployment rate in South Australia hovering around 7%, you would assume there would be an abundance of candidates in the market looking for jobs. This is true of lower-skilled roles such as admin, customer service, and hospitality jobs. However, this is not the case for candidates in higher-skilled jobs requiring degrees, certifications, special qualifications/and or experience. In the property industry in South Australia, those jobs requiring higher skill levels are very candidate short. This includes residential and commercial property managers, facilities managers, valuers and conveyancers, and project managers. The movement of candidates from interstate has only just started to improve and there are currently close to zero overseas candidates.  

This is leaving many employers struggling to secure quality talent and manage their pipeline of work going into 2021 but is good news for skilled job seekers who are calling the shots when it comes to job opportunities.  

So why are candidates more cautious than ever when it comes to job-seeking? 

Candidates trends 

  1. Job Security is the No.1 Priority for Jobseekers  
    In a year where uncertainty has been consistent, it’s no wonder job security has become the most important consideration for jobseekers when appraising a potential employer. The number of people who have moved from active job seeking to passive job-seeking has increased greatly due to jobseekers taking a more risk-averse approach to manage their careers.  
  2. Salary comes second to security and work/life balance 
    Seek research shows that due to COVID-19, 2 out of 3 candidates would trade a higher salary for job security if faced with that decision. It’s clear that candidates are also choosing work/life balance over salary. A high percentage of people said they would choose a lower stress job with a lower salary over a high-stress job coupled with a higher salary.  
  3. Casual and contract work is less appealing 
    According to Seek, more than half of Australians interviewed were more hesitant to take on contract or casual work. In stark contrast, we’re noticing employers in the property industry in South Australia are more likely to take on temps or contract staff at a time when they are unsure how the market will perform going into 2021. So, that shows a real disconnect between what candidates want and what employers are looking for.  

How to ensure peace of mind and the best job offerings 

Our advice is to do your research about the financial security, values, and employee offerings of any potential employers and to ask plenty of questions before agreeing to a new role.  

  • Ask about company performance 
    Don’t be afraid to ask any potential employers questions about their financial security and performance. You could ask how COVID-19 impacted their workplace financially and culturally. What pipeline of work or projects do they have going into 2021?   
  • Do their values align with your own? 
    View potential employers' websites and social media channels to ascertain their brand values and company culture.   
  • What is their Employee Value Proposition? 
    Be clear about any potential employers’ value proposition. What can the organisation offer you in terms of flexible work arrangements? Do they have a great company culture and social events in place? Do they use up to date technology and have sound systems and procedures in place?   

This year has been one of reflection with many Australians evaluating their employment situation, quality of life, and what’s important to them. Any fears candidates may have about changing roles in the current market can be alleviated by researching the financial security, values and employee offerings of any potential employers. 

Source:   

-ABS website (October 2020 statistics)   
-Seek website     

2021 Vision - How To Attract Candidates In A Cautious Market

19/11/2020

What can employers expect going into 2021 and how has job seeker behaviour changed in the era of COVID-19? Employers face new challenges to attract quality candidates in the current market as jobseekers take a more conservative approach to their careers and are less willing to move.  

With the unemployment rate at a rather high 7% (October 2020), you would expect there to be an abundance of candidates available in the market. This is true for lower-skilled roles such as low-level admin and customer service jobs. However, this is not the case for higher-skilled roles requiring certifications, degrees, and special qualifications/and or prior experience. In the property industry in South Australia, those jobs requiring higher skill levels are very candidate short. The movement of interstate candidates has only just started up again and there are almost no overseas candidates currently.  

This is leaving employers struggling to secure quality talent and manage their workloads and pipeline of work going into 2021.  

Candidate trends 

  • Job Security is No. 1 Priority for Jobseekers 
    In a year where uncertainty has been a constant, it’s no wonder job security has become the most important consideration for jobseekers when appraising a potential employer. The number of people who have moved from active job seeking to passive job-seeking has increased greatly due to jobseekers taking a more risk-averse approach to manage their careers. 

  • Salary not as important as security and work/life balance 
    Seek research shows that due to COVID-19, 2 out of 3 candidates would trade a higher salary for job security if faced with that decision. It’s clear that candidates are also choosing work/life balance over salary. A high percentage of people said they would choose a lower stress job with a lower salary over a high-stress job coupled with a higher salary.  

  • Many candidates are considering big changes 
    Seek research also revealed almost 40% of candidates were considering moving to an industry that is less likely to be impacted by COVID-19 (July 2020). This year has been one of reflection with many Australians evaluating their employment situation, quality of life, and what’s important to them. 

  • Casual and contract work is becoming less appealing 
    According to Seek, more than half of Australians interviewed were more hesitant to take on contract or casual work. In stark contrast, we’re noticing employers in the property industry in South Australia are more likely to take on temps or contract staff at a time when they are unsure how the market will perform going into 2021. So, that shows a real disconnect between what employers want and what candidates are looking for.   

So, what can employers do to secure quality talent going into 2021? 

  • Be open about your organisation’s performance  
    We recommend employers take a twofold approach to this. Firstly, look back and discuss how your organisation has handled COVID-19 and how it impacted your business. Candidates want to know how your organisation has performed financially and culturally. Secondly, discuss how your business will perform going forward. What pipeline of work or projects do you have in place? Have you lost or increased the percentage of your customer base? You don’t need to provide a profit and loss statement, you just need to provide candidates with confidence that your business will continue to perform well going forward. For example, a property management business could promote that they have a 2% vacancy rate amongst their rent roll and a strong customer base. A short paragraph in a job ad is an appropriate way to promote this to jobseekers.  

  • Brand Marketing  
    Brand marketing will be critically important to attracting quality talent going forward. In a cautious market, job seekers are doing more thorough research on potential employers. Use your website and social media channels to communicate your brand values and company culture to potential employees.  

  • Be prepared to answer questions about job security.  
    Many candidates are concerned about job security in the current market. So, employers should be prepared to answer questions about their financial buoyancy in job interviews and from phone inquiries. 

  • Tidy up your recruitment processes  
    Employers need to move quickly to secure the best candidates. Streamlining your recruitment processes will ensure you don’t miss out on quality talent to competing organisations. Consider using a specialist recruiter to assist you with this process. 
     
  • Provide clarity on your employee value proposition 
    Be clear about what your organisation can offer candidates and advertise that to the market. What is your unique selling proposition? Do you offer flexible work arrangements? Do you have a great company culture and social events in place? Do you offer up to date technology and sound systems and procedures, which are more important than ever to candidates?  

At a time when many employees are evaluating their careers, employers should work on their talent retention and attraction strategies to help secure quality talent now and going into 2021.  

Source:  

-ABS website (October 2020 statistics)  
-Seek website   

How To Break Into Property Management 

15/10/2020

With a background in hospitality and 3 young kids at home, Rachel Rogers took the brave step of following her dreams to a career in property management. How did she do it? We recently took time out to hear her inspiring story.    

How one jobseeker made a successful career change into property management 

Rachel completed the Property Management course at the Real Estate Training College and gained her license in 2018, while she was busy raising her three young children. Having tragically lost her husband to a rare cancer in 2016, Rachel focused on raising her young family until she was ready to start job hunting in early 2020. Having always shown a strong interest in the real estate industry, Rachel had already completed some property investment courses in 2017 and 2018.  

Rachel was ready to start job hunting in February 2020 but had to put that on hold for a few more months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She started putting resumes out mid-year, but every employer wanted a minimum of 2 years’ experience in property management, which she did not have. She applied for these roles anyway but had no success getting job interviews. 

She didn’t want to be out of work for too long, so she took a job in hospitality while she kept looking for a property management role. This only reaffirmed her determination to gain a role in property management. 

Then she was given some great advice by a friend of a friend who was a real estate principal. His advice was to target the larger companies, not smaller ones, and to get out there to make contacts in the real estate industry in person.  

Rachel then started reaching out to her own contacts, telling them what she was looking for and that’s when an opportunity arose. A real estate agency had advertised on a local school website that they were looking for a property management graduate and that experience was not essential. Overnight Rachel researched the company and the next morning visited the agency. She spoke to the agency principal and they were impressed and promptly booked her in for a job interview. She got the job and started in late August.  

What does your job entail and how is it going? 

The team at Raine and Horne and very supportive and I'm really enjoying my role. To start with I’ve been doing routine inspections, ingoing and outgoing inspections whilst I work towards being responsible for managing properties by myself. I have just been given two properties to manage, so it’s great to see some progression. I work with and support a highly experienced senior property manager who acts as a mentor and is there to answer any questions I have.  

Do you have any advice for other property management graduates on how to increase their chances of gaining employment in the industry? 

You've got to get out there in person. When I met the director of a real estate agency (who was a friend of a friend), his advice was to get out there in person and target the larger agencies to start with. If you’ve got a solid resume to back it up, you need to meet people in person to demonstrate that you are personable and professional. It can be a scary thing to do especially when you’ve been out of work for a while, but my advice is to follow your dreams, forget about the fear and go for it.  

I’d recommend starting your job search in your local suburbs first as you have local knowledge and the convenience of being close to home.   

Do you have any suggestions for the real estate industry about how we can improve job opportunities for property management graduates?  

It would have been great to undertake some work experience prior to attending job interviews, which I would have happily done at no cost.  

Why real estate? 

I've always been interested in real estate. I am one of those people who would love to spend a whole day going through display homes. I go to lots of open homes in my area and I'm always looking at real estate.com. It’s a passion! 

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Thank you to Rachel Rogers from Raine and Horne for sharing her inspiring career story. We hope this provides jobseekers with useful advice and motivation to follow their career dreams.  

The Property Management Graduate Job Conundrum 

08/10/2020

Graduates who have completed their property management training and gained their registration are finding it difficult to gain jobs in the property industry. With a shortage of quality property management candidates continuing to hinder the industry together with some reluctance from employers to take on graduates with no experience, how can the property management industry bridge the gap between training and productive employment? We spoke with Adam Blight, Director of Property Management at Ouwens Casserly and Emma Slape, CEO at Turner Real Estate for their views on this topical issue. 

In discussions with industry leaders, there is no easy solution. Should the industry or the training organisations take more responsibility? Where does the responsibility lie? 

What is the main reason property management graduates are finding it hard to get jobs in the property industry in South Australia? 

Adam 

To be a property manager you need to know a lot about a lot. It's not as simple as knowing the act. There are lots of programs out there and technology that you need to get your head around. I've been in the business for 17 years and at least once a week, we'll come across something that we haven't had to deal with before. 

To get someone to go from graduation to being a productive property manager takes anywhere from 6 months to two years, which is a significant investment for businesses and even more so for smaller businesses. Even if you're only being paid a smaller wage or a traineeship wage, an assistant property manager is still not paying for themselves for the first 6 months, so you do need significant resources to employ someone. 

Emma 

Real estate is demanding from day 1 so in busy times, businesses will look for experience so that their new team member can hit the ground running.  Unless agencies have senior staff who have time allocated to train, support and mentor new recruits, the fit often doesn’t exist for an inexperienced graduate, unfortunately. 

How are property management graduates with no experience viewed by property employers? 

Adam 

We've always viewed property management graduates with no experience as an opportunity. They don't have any bad habits and are potentially a lot more optimistic than those who have been in the industry for a long time. It's a chance for us to mould them into what we want out of a property manager. For our organisation, being one of the larger real estate companies, we have the resources to bring them in. 

One challenge we’ve had, especially in the last 3-4 years, is having graduates come in with no experience and not having the patience to learn the ropes before wanting to manage a portfolio themselves. Some of the young people coming into the industry have unreasonably high expectations of where they should be in a short space of time. Being a property manager is a very high trust role with responsibility for high-value assets, so, businesses carry a lot of risk if they choose to promote somebody before they are ready. 

In saying that we have some excellent young guns in our team who are doing well, and seven out of our ten property managers started with us with no experience, so it's a channel that we've had a lot of success with. The challenge for employers is getting the timing right when to promote trainees. Doing this too early can result in them burning out and becoming overwhelmed.  

Emma 

This really depends on the agency and recruitment model. At Turner Real Estate, we love starting newbies in their PM journey and we gradually build their skills, brick by brick as they learn our systems and processes.  We’ve had a lot of success with this model, but we also have senior team members allocated to train and mentor. Generally, the larger agencies have more opportunities for graduates, whereas smaller agencies often need team members with experience and a full PM skillset from day 1. 

What could bridge the gap to employment for graduates with their property management license? 

Adam 

It's hard to substitute on the job, 'hands-on' experience. In a theoretical environment, when you don't have any background or any context on why rules are and how they're implemented, I think it's a tough ask for the training organisations to produce a graduate that’s ready to go, without real-world experience or work experience, unfortunately. 

Emma 

More practical training in the PM license is necessary to bridge this gap.  Currently, a lot of the training is online, which is great for the theory components, but more simulation of ‘in the field’ work would go a long way.  Personally, I’d like to see priority given to conducting quality open inspections, routines and ingoing reports so that the entry-level graduates can immediately help the more senior team members. It is time-consuming to train and learn this, it might be weeks of practice – but they are core skills which would be attractive to employers from day 1 and graduates could then show employers their level of detail and understanding of properties. 

What support would employers need to take on licensed graduates with little or no real-world experience?  

Adam 

I think if there was a little bit more flexibility in what trainees were able to do without having their property management license, it would be easier for businesses to be able to offer traineeships in property management. 

Back when I started in the industry, I was on a traineeship which meant a low wage, doing my training over a year. At that time, I could be productive and still do property inspections and work unsupervised. The challenge now is that trainees can't work unsupervised and do property inspections of any sort. 

Employers, especially small employers would need significant financial incentives to take on graduates because of the limited resources they have. Also, the difference between having someone without experience and someone who is experienced isn't that much of a significant difference pay wise. 

Emma 

You have to have a dedicated team member taking responsibility for training.  New people can’t be expected to just watch and learn by osmosis – they need to be supported, reviewed, mentored and counselled when they get off track. It is a time-consuming process, but it’s extremely rewarding to see people reach the next level and employers will also find incredible staff retention and loyalty when they make these investments in their team.