Construction of new apartment stock is booming again in America, and with that growth comes jobs. When new properties are completed, new apartment industry employment opportunities are created. We talked with John Cullens, President and Founder of ApartmentCareers.com, about what’s on the horizon for apartment industry careers.
Filling the backlog of development that built up during the economic downturn has construction booming now, and that’s good news for job seekers.
“The job growth we’re going to see because of new development that has to happen is going to have our industry grow somewhere in the 20 to 25 percent range in the next 8 years,” Cullens said. “We had a lot of units that needed to be added to the mix.”
But the tasks those new hires may be asked to take on could be slightly different from the old industry standards.
“We’ve really started to see some shifts in the type of people that are getting hired, especially in some of the newer product. Gone are the days of the assistant manager/bookkeeper position – those tasks are now able to be done in an easier, centralized manner. We’re seeing more and more of a focus on the service side of our industry. How are you going to separate and differentiate your product by value added services that residents want? The best way is to have staff on site to provide those services,” Cullens said.
Other trends Cullens has identified through his 12-year-old website and extensive contacts with industry insiders include:
-Growth in professional marketing positions. “Most people are embracing social media in some form or fashion and realizing that content based advertising and marketing is a way to get your name out there and have people look at you, and build some community around your property. We’re seeing undergoing significant changes in the type of personnel hired.“
-Focus on recruiting from outside the industry, often targeting the hospitality and retail sectors. “Recruiters are looking at what type of roles could someone have had in the past that would bring a strong set of skills to that leasing/marketing position.”
-Shortage of service and maintenance personnel. “The available pool of personnel that would once have come into some of these lower wage, more manual service jobs is not there.”
-New jobs in technology – but not on the help desk. “We’re seeing IT departments within the property management companies starting to grow. Not from a help desk standpoint – that’s going to get more outsourced – but from a data analytics perspective. We are producing reams of data. Somebody’s got to go through all that data, and tell us what it all means and how we can better run our businesses as a result.”
-Pay increases. Companies are realizing that they will need to increase salaries for on-site apartment jobs to attract and retain top talent, Cullens said. “Historically the industry is 20 to 30 percent underpaid… you add to that some of the cuts that were made in 09-10 and you’ve compounded it. I think we’re in a period where we’re going to see some serious wage increases. If you’re trying to complete for the top level talent, you have to pay to play.”
Check out our companion story about what skills you need now to pursue an apartment career.