IF YOU WANT A CHEER­FUL and pos­i­tive prop­erty man­age­ment team, new re­search by Rock­end in part­ner­ship with Elite Agent may pro­vide some an­swers. Rock­end Head of Mar­ket­ing Cather­ine Vissiere breaks down the facts and stats.

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The State of Aus­tralian Prop­erty Man­age­ment re­port re­veals just 25 per cent of the in­dus­try is cur­rently up­beat about its fu­ture, while 47 per cent are pas­sive and 28 per cent are neg­a­tive. And those who feel dis­grun­tled be­lieve they are over­worked, un­der­paid, have few prospects and are stressed by the con­stantly in­creas­ing de­mands of clients – even if they love work­ing with their team.

The sur­vey, con­ducted by Rock­end, found that while the prop­erty man­age­ment in­dus­try has its eye on the fu­ture, it’s the day-to-day ‘peo­ple’ chal­lenges are ab­sorb­ing most at­ten­tion. It re­veals there is a sig­nif­i­cant dis­con­nect be­tween prin­ci­pals and prop­erty man­agers which is cre­at­ing stress to such a de­gree that 40 per cent be­lieve their next role will be in a to­tally dif­fer­ent in­dus­try.

“It’s the first time the in­dus­try has been sur­veyed so ex­ten­sively and the in­sights are re­ally en­light­en­ing for prin­ci­pals and prop­erty man­age­ment team lead­ers,” said Rock­end Head of Mar­ket­ing Cather­ine Vissiere.

“The data high­lights in big neon let­ters that the best prop­erty man­age­ment busi­nesses are well run, have great ca­reer struc­tures in place and sup­port their prop­erty man­agers to be more than just prop­erty task man­agers, but en­cour­age [them to] train their team to be prop­erty ad­vis­ers.”

The re­port sur­veyed 1,034 re­spon­dents across prop­erty man­age­ment, in­clud­ing prop­erty man­agers, prin­ci­pals, heads of de­part­ments, BDMs and trust man­agers, to es­tab­lish a bench­mark, an­a­lyse job sat­is­fac­tion lev­els and to un­der­stand key is­sues that are af­fect­ing the in­dus­try.

The state of the prop­erty man­age­ment in­dus­try

The sur­vey con­firmed that prop­erty man­age­ment is dom­i­nated by women over­all, with 82 per cent of re­spon­dents fe­male and 18 per cent male.

Re­spon­dents to the sur­vey were most likely to be prop­erty man­agers (44 per cent), while 25 per cent were heads of de­part­ment and 23 per cent were prin­ci­pals. The re­main­der were a mix of BDMs and trust ac­coun­tants.

The re­port shows in­dus­try staff are most likely to be aged be­tween 25 and 55 (54 per cent) although 40 per cent were aged over 45. Most (31 per cent) had been in their cur­rent


role for more than six years, while 21 per cent had been in the in­dus­try for less than a year and 28 per cent had been in their role for be­tween two and six years.

The ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents (62 per cent) man­aged rent rolls of fewer than 150 prop­er­ties, while 15 per cent man­aged rent rolls larger than 250 prop­er­ties. Their agen­cies were most likely (33 per cent) to have less than 150 prop­er­ties, with 27 per cent manag­ing 150 to 349 and 30 per cent manag­ing 350 to 999.

When it comes to salary, 15 per cent are very sat­is­fied with how they are paid, fol­lowed by 45 per cent who are some­what sat­is­fied. In con­trast, 19 per cent are dis­sat­is­fied to a de­gree about their pay.

The data shows most prop­erty man­agers work a 40-hour week, but busy-ness is an is­sue with the ma­jor­ity feel­ing over­worked. It shows 12 per cent be­lieve they are far too busy, and 43 per cent feel they are slightly too busy. Just eight per cent don’t be­lieve they are re­ally busy at all.

In­ter­est­ingly, the pro­por­tion of re­spon­dents who said they in­tend leav­ing the in­dus­try was also 12 per cent.

Chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties

The sur­vey found that, as a whole, 72 per cent of re­spon­dents are ex­cited by the idea of dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion and the move to the cloud and re­gard it as a huge op­por­tu­nity. Out­sourc­ing was seen as the next-best op­por­tu­nity, iden­ti­fied by 50 per cent of all re­spon­dents.

When it came to chal­lenges, 58 per cent found both the grow­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of ten­ants and own­ers and the un­cer­tain prop­erty mar­ket the most press­ing. This was fol­lowed by 51 per cent iden­ti­fy­ing con­sumers’ com­ments on so­cial me­dia as a chal­lenge that needs to be over­come and 39 per cent re­gard­ing it as an op­por­tu­nity.

But the data gets par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing when we start to ex­am­ine how dif­fer­ent roles re­garded the chal­lenges. “When we ex­am­ined the data by the role that the re­spon­dent held, we saw a sig­nif­i­cant dis­con­nect be­tween prin­ci­pals and prop­erty man­agers,” Ms Vissiere said. “Prin­ci­pals were just as likely to see the chang­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of ten­ants and own­ers as both a chal­lenge and an op­por­tu­nity, with 49 per cent be­liev­ing it was a chal­lenge and 46 per cent see­ing it as an op­por­tu­nity.

“But the ma­jor­ity of prop­erty man­agers (63 per cent) be­lieve grow­ing ex­pec­ta­tions are a chal­lenge, show­ing that it’s the front­line that are do­ing it the hard­est.” Prop­erty man­agers were also likely (61 per cent) to be more con­cerned about the un­cer­tain prop­erty mar­ket than prin­ci­pals at 54 per cent, and prop­erty man­agers (41 per cent) were more likely to be­lieve that chang­ing reg­u­la­tion of­fered op­por­tu­ni­ties to their busi­ness in com­par­i­son to prin­ci­pals (33 per cent).

De­trac­tors, pro­mot­ers and pas­sives

A third of the busi­nesses with 150 to 349 prop­er­ties on their rent rolls had de­trac­tors within their busi­ness, fol­lowed by those with more than 1,500 prop­er­ties which had a 32 per cent grum­ble rate. Pro­mot­ers were fairly evenly spread across all rent roll sizes, while pas­sives were most likely to clus­ter in the 350 to 999 rent roll level. As such we can con­clude that rent roll size is not re­ally a de­ter­miner of how happy some­one is in their role.

So what makes some­one a detractor or a pro­moter?

“The data shows that it’s not just the hours worked or the time in the in­dus­try that de­ter­mines if some­one is a detractor or pro­moter, but how they per­ceive their op­por­tu­ni­ties and if they feel val­ued,” Ms Vissiere said.

Iron­i­cally, those who worked the long­est hours were more likely to be very pos­i­tive about the in­dus­try. Of those who worked over 60 hours a week, 42 per cent were pro­mot­ers while 31 per cent were de­trac­tors; while of those who worked a stan­dard 40-hour week, 24 per cent were pro­mot­ers and 29 per cent were de­trac­tors.

Be­ing far too busy was most likely to re­sult in a worker be­ing a detractor, with 41 per cent of those who felt fraz­zled be­ing neg­a­tive and un­likely to rec­om­mend the in­dus­try, to­gether with 43 per cent of pas­sives.

The data shows that 75 per cent of pro­mot­ers strongly agreed that they had ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties within their busi­ness, com­pared to just 36 per cent of de­trac­tors and 58 per cent of pas­sives. Pro­mot­ers were also sig­nif­i­cantly more likely to have the tools and re­sources they needed to do their work cor­rectly (80 per cent) com­pared to just 46 per cent of de­trac­tors.

In ad­di­tion, 92 per cent of pro­mot­ers said they felt se­cure in their role com­pared to 63 per cent of de­trac­tors. The im­pact of the sum of these fac­tors can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated, Ms Vissiere said.

“The data shows ab­so­lutely clearly that when ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties, job se­cu­rity and the right tools are made avail­able to staff, they are most likely to be happy,” she said. “We found that 93 per cent of pro­mot­ers ab­so­lutely loved work­ing for their em­ployer, in com­par­i­son to 48 per cent of de­trac­tors.”

Ms Vissiere said the sense of ei­ther op­ti­mism or over­whelm fed through to how the prop­erty man­age­ment in­dus­try per­ceives the fu­ture.

De­trac­tors were sig­nif­i­cantly less likely to see the grow­ing ex­pec­ta­tions from ten­ants and own­ers as an op­por­tu­nity (29 per cent) com­pared to pro­mot­ers (50 per cent) and were more likely to see com­ments on so­cial me­dia as a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge (59 per cent) com­pared to just 45 per cent of pro­mot­ers.

What is the cost of the dis­il­lu­sion­ment and un­hap­pi­ness? A higher cost of train­ing, on­board­ing and loss of busi­ness knowl­edge, re­sult­ing in a poorer ser­vice to own­ers and ten­ants as teams con­stantly strug­gle to be on top of their work­loads.

“Only 50 per cent of de­trac­tors said they were likely to find an­other role in prop­erty man­age­ment, com­pared to 70 per cent of pro­mot­ers,” Ms Vissiere said.

“De­trac­tors were most likely (24 per cent) to seek to leave the in­dus­try in com­par­i­son to 11 per cent of those who were pas­sive, and pas­sive re­spon­dents were more likely (34 per cent) to seek a dif­fer­ent role within the prop­erty in­dus­try.”

“Those peo­ple are go­ing to be talk­ing down prop­erty man­age­ment and that’s not vi­able long term,” Ms Vissiere said.

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