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Tapping Property Management’s Fountain Of Youth


After 85 years of training and developing real estate management professionals, the Institute of Real Estate Management has rebranded with an eye toward the next generation — while still remaining a resource for managers of all experience levels. Visitors to its website will notice a more colorful IREM logo, with each color representing one of the four asset classes IREM members manage. The new logo is just the tip of the iceberg for an institution that has established a reputation for building up property management’s top leaders.  

In an industry with a reputation for being slow to adopt changing workplace trends and embrace technology, it can be difficult to attract the same level of young talent as other sectors like the tech world. The average age of a property manager is over 50 years old. Across all real estate professions, the average age is 40 years old.

IREM President Donald Wilkerson wants to change those statistics with the rebrand.  

“We wanted to optimize the IREM brand to appeal to young professionals,” Wilkerson said. “We know that our profession is aging, and we want to attract young professionals and show that real estate management is a worthwhile and rewarding career choice.”

Millennials, like the generations that came before them, seek jobs that instill a sense of purpose and offer a greater impact on the world. Now a majority of the workforce, millennials have become more vocal about these desires. 

A career in property management checks off several boxes for millennials. Property managers interact with people on a daily basis, solving problems across assets from senior housing to office buildings. The former demands altruism while the latter requires skills used in running large corporations. Managers can take ownership of the role and have room to innovate.


Younger property managers can also better connect with the newer generation of renters in the multifamily sector. An estimated 70 million millennials will reach prime renting age by 2024, according to Yardi Matrix. Property managers closer to this age range can better empathize with tenants, helping create living situations that lead to lease renewals. 

For young professionals, property management has become an increasingly popular career path. Jobs in property and building management are poised to grow by 8% by 2024, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is higher than the forecast national average of 7% growth across all other occupations. But commercial real estate might not be a first choice for college students who have never been exposed to the industry. It is often a career college graduates stumble into. 

To establish a more intentional pipeline, IREM has partnered with several universities to increase engagement in property management careers, including the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the University of Alaska-Anchorage, Drexel University, Ball State University, Brigham Young University and Virginia Polytechnic University. Job placement stands between 90% and 100% within the property management programs at these institutions.

IREM’s new strategy might attract the property management leaders of tomorrow, but the association continues to uphold its original mission to be a resource for new and veteran professionals. IREM offers several credentials professionals can earn to demonstrate a commitment to, and passion for, good management. The goal is timeless: to make a difference in the careers of those who manage. 

“We will continue to be globally recognized as a go-to resource for both residential and commercial real estate management, and those who hold IREM credentials will be sought out for their expertise and professional ethics,” Wilkerson said. 

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