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Property Management's Big Talent Threat

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Property management is facing a talent shortage, with labor statistics and industry orgs projecting 65% of our leaders retiring by 2020, says Cushman & Wakefield managing director of corporate occupier and investor services Eileen Carey

Property Management's Big Talent Threat

It's time to combat that: “We need to start training and mentoring young professionals to be engineers and property managers,” she says. C&W is tackling this by growing its PM staff from within through a series of free courses, including LEED training, that employees can pursue to grow their skill sets, says Eileen (whose office oversees a 20M SF portfolio of retail, office and MOBs in New Jersey, Westchester and Southern Connecticut). The firm also encourages employees to attend BOMA and IREM classes and get RPA and CPM designations. “We’ve had brokerage and administrative professionals become property managers and property managers become project and portfolio managers this way,” she says. And as more Millennials enter the workforce, they want to be in buildings with innovative features and amenities. C&W is tapping into younger employees to cross-train other PM pros to become more astute with technology.

Property Management's Big Talent Threat

It’s also harder to come by talent through sheer competition. Tony Perichino is the director of residential management for Rockville, MD-based The Tower Cos, where he oversees The Blairs, an 1,100-unit luxury apartment campus in Silver Spring, MD. Class-A multifamily is saturated in that market, which not only means a heavy grab for tenants, but property managers and engineers—and your buildings operate only as well as your boots on the ground, he says. After a stationary few years, the market is growing, and tenants are ready to spend money on a vast array of options. “That includes a high level of service in the buildings at which they live,” he says. “So it’s important we have a flexible, enthusiastic and prepared staff.”

Property Management's Big Talent Threat

The Tower Cos recently demolished the complex’s Blair Towers, where it will be developing 1,100 new apartments (rendered above). The first building of 284 units will be delivered in early 2017. Tony tells us that the firm is becoming a more competitive employer by moving from a base-salary system with a discretionary year-end bonus to a performance-based model that offers bonuses throughout the year based on how property management employees responds to team goals The Tower Cos puts in place. “We find that people who are less driven aren’t attracted to this model,” he says. “Instead, we want to attract employees who understand the potential attached to high-level performance and who want to step it up when they’re in front of their peers, which makes for a more productive company.”