How Do We Make the Property Management Industry More Attractive to Millennials?

by Joe Killinger

I have been in the property management industry for 25 years and for the last several years I have noticed how it has become a very tired industry but what I hadn’t realized is how bad it actually is. I recently read an article stating that 60% of everyone in commercial real estate services will be at retirement age in the next five years. Now that’s alarming!

Much of what I have read about millennials is that they are almost equally concerned about their wages as well as the impact their job has. If this is true, doesn’t it seem like property management would be the ideal industry as it allows for them to impact their community at the most basic level? Housing!

I am a firm believer that it’s not that difficult to transition into an industry that can be more attractive to the younger generations. Here are a few approaches:

  1. Offer generous job compensation to acquire the most talented employees and to reduce turnover.

The first step we need to look at is how you are paying your staff, if you choose to be at the bottom end of the pay scale you will get just that kind of work and have high turnover. I believe that if you do some fact checking you will find that most employees that are paid near the top of the pay scale tend to bring you more value, longevity in their position and in the end give you a better return on your investment.

  1. Offer extensive training programs

The second step is training, the millennials want to be informed so let them learn the business from the bottom up by tagging along with the entire staff all while they are training for the position you hired them for. They want to know what and how the maintenance person performs their daily task to the Regional manager. They will take it all in and have a complete picture of how they can perform their job at its peak level.  Try to create an open and collaborative environment so that the millennial feels a part of the team, not just the newbie.

  1. Implement the right tools & latest technologies

The property management industry overall is in need of an image remake, it is a crotchety old industry that seems to be stuck in the past. Technology upgrades are becoming more and more available and that will give us a boost, hiring individuals that are excited to help us bring some life to the industry is key.

Giving a millennial the right tools to do their job is vital to their performance. The property management industry historically has been behind the times with implementing the proper technologies. The millennials have grown up with a smart phone in their hand so they are ready to handle most technological tasks you give them.

  1. Create an environment that allows them to flourish & be creative

The work environment is key, not just for millennials but for all employees.  When I started in the industry, our office had multiple couches with some of the ugliest flower print imaginable and it made it feel like our owner simply found the cheapest furniture they could to fill the space. These days it’s much simpler to find better looking furniture and fixtures at a good price that can help you create an environment that your team will enjoy working around.

  1. Show how their work will impact peoples’ lives in the community, in a positive way

The property management industry allows millennials and others that want to make a difference in communities a platform to get involved and really change the way any community operates. By being in this industry, we can implement programs to help children, elderly or other groups in need.  Doing so will enhance your community.  This can also be a win-win, in that a millennial will surely bring in fresh ideas and potential efficiencies that will help your business run even better.

We just need to start!

2 Comments. Leave new

Joe Bulfamante
May 3, 2017 8:27 pm

Hi Joe,
Your comments are very informative. I believe that the effectiveness of a property manager is dictated by: The Market, The Owners of the Management Company, the tenants and/or shareholders, the Board of Directors, etc…. However, my 50+ years in the business and or related functions, I am a firm believer that the manager must meet the goals and objectives of the owner of the property and/or the owner of the management company.
If the G&O are firm, (depending on the individual market and the condition of the property), the manager can be provided with incentive compensation, if goals/objectives are met. Simply paying a higher salary is one way of trying to get the staff that is/may be needed. However the manager must have a vested interest as well.
I hope this information may help you and wish you the best.
Joe Bulfamante


Great info…thank you for your response!


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