The last three years have put considerable pressure on the labor market. As a result, many industries, including commercial real estate, have had to revamp and redouble their efforts to recruit and retain talent. Real estate management is no exception, and while awareness of this career path may have been limited, 2023 IREM president Renee Savage, CPM, CCIM, says that’s no longer the case.

“Each property is a business, but each one is different,” said Savage, president of San Diego-based SavageCRE Inc. “Every client, market and day are different. It’s definitely not a boring profession.”

A huge focus for IREM, Savage notes, is raising awareness on how the role has changed to more heavily emphasize team leadership and asset management. It’s a career that has a lot to offer today’s aspiring professionals, Savage says

Change for the Better

The real estate management industry has come a long way in the past 30 years. And Savage doesn’t just mean from the days when typed, mailed letter responses were the norm and fax machines were viewed as revolutionary.

“Then, property managers were managers. Now, they’re leaders,” Savage said. “They still have the many tasks required of them — many now of an on-demand nature — but more than ever before there’s a bigger leadership piece to today’s profession.”

IREM’s president says a major component of that leadership growth within property management is the addition of more asset management duties. If the old stereotype of a property manager was head down and checklist-oriented, the new reality is that more property managers need to understand how their assets fit into ownership’s strategy.

“Owners and investors understand the impact that a good property manager has on the outcome of their assets,” she said. “It’s about trying to be a disruptor in some sense and anticipate what they need.”

Generational Differences

What should the real estate management profession do to present itself as a career versus merely a job? This is the key question that must be answered for effective recruitment and retention, according to Savage.

While Gen Z, the newest generation to enter the job market, does have an expectation to move through positions quickly, they bring many positives. It’s a more helpful, socially conscious generation with greater global awareness.

“Gen Z employees want to make a difference in their work,” said Savage. “They also want to be part of a team, part of something bigger, rather than working independently. They want to have an impact, but also a life. There’s, of course, been a huge movement in both tech and sustainability, as well as the whole ESG world (environmental, social, and governance). ESG is impacting every industry but for property management, it’s come a long way.”

That Gen Z focus on community certainly aligns with key IREM values. In addition to education and networking, the organization prides itself on membership engagement. Whether it’s a how-to question for a veteran property manager across town, or an interest in exploring real estate management opportunities abroad, IREM members engage with each other, across the globe. That’s a tie that not only binds, but also keeps the profession healthy and growing.