Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune of interacting with thousands of men and women in the early stages of their careers. Hardly a training program goes by when I’m not approached before or after class or during a break with questions that in some way have to do with a person’s career path. Some folks are questioning if housing management is right for them. Others have already decided on housing management as a general career but are pondering the next step:
“How do I advance?”
“What are the opportunities out there?”
And, it’s not just employees that ask questions. Often, particularly in our consulting practice, the questions are from employers:
“How do I find the best people?”
“How do we retain the talented employees we have?”
“How can I help my staff develop their skills and abilities?”
My responses almost always include how much I think housing management is a great career choice. Here are my top six reasons why:
1. You don’t need a PhD to get ahead. Don’t get me wrong, education and credentials are great things. In fact, they are at the core of our business at NCHM. But one of the things I’ve always thought was great about housing management was that even if you have limited formal education, you can have a great career. I’ve met CEOs, vice presidents of property management companies, executive directors of housing authorities and non-profit agencies, regional property managers and many, many others who started out in entry level positions in our industry (and in some cases as residents) and have worked their way up the ladder. Some came to the jobs with college degrees, but many did not. Others acquired degrees or specialized training while holding down jobs in the industry. Unlike many other industries where advanced degrees are an absolute necessity just to get on the ladder, let alone move up, housing management in general has no such barrier. In fact, if you start at the property-level, whether that be as a leasing agent, maintenance technician, or manager, your “real life” experience is hugely valued by decision-makers, and rightly so.
2. You can’t make it in China. Housing management is one industry that isn’t going away. Yes, it evolves. Technology has changed the industry dramatically over the past twenty or so years. Governmental regulations have made it far more complex. The diversity of “product types” has expanded significantly (think: senior housing, student housing, affordable housing, military housing, workforce housing, supportive housing, luxury rentals, condo management; the list goes on and on). It’s changed but it isn’t going away. You can’t make it overseas. It still is a business that “gets delivered” in our neighborhood and communities every day. So, it’s not a dying career that could get shipped overseas – far from it.
3. It is as close to recession proof as it comes. Few good things happen in bad times. Having lived through a few recessions, I know for many it’s a matter of just holding on until better times reappear. Housing management is affected by downturns in the economy but, in my experience, less so than many other industries. Properties still must be maintained, and the rent still needs to be collected (even more so in a recession!). Manufacturing and construction will slow, but property management goes on.
4. What you do is tangible. If you work in the housing management industry you impact nearly half of all Americans (counting those who rent or live in some other managed community such as a condominium) and you impact them at the place they spend more than half their time: their home. Want to make a difference? Housing management is a good place to do it.
5. It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere! Housing management happens in every state, every city, rural, urban and suburban. Yes, more opportunities exist in big cities than small towns, but opportunities are everywhere.
6. It has a place for nearly everyone. Housing management needs, in fact, it embraces, all sorts of people: numbers people and people people, introverts and extroverts, leaders and followers, the creative and the systematic, the technician and the innovator, those who are caregivers and those who “keep the trains running on time.” No matter a person’s interests or skill set, there is very likely a role for them in the housing management industry.
These are just six of the attributes that make housing management a great career choice. If you are on the hiring side seeking good people, I would suggest emphasizing some of these reasons as you attempt to attract and retain the best people possible. If you are an employee, thinking about whether this is the right place for you now and in the future, I would ask if there is another industry that offers what this one does. And, if you are past the point of choosing a career, I would ask you to reflect on how the industry has contributed to your life and how you can get even more out of it in the future.
It’s a great career – if you make it so. We can help you become a true professional. Contact us:
Phone: (800) 368-5625