A survey of UK property managers by MRI Software reveals millennials have emerged as the dominant age group in the industry and that women continue to be underrepresented.
The Voice of the Property Manager report was produced from a survey sample of 250 property management professionals in association with the UK Apartment Association (UKAA), the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and the Institute of Residential Property Management (IPRM). The study aimed to identify key property management trends, benchmarks, satisfaction levels, technology outlook and challenges.
Millennials now fill over 70% of property management roles, with those reaching their late 30s and early 40s holding close to half (47%) of senior positions, according to the report. Women, however, make up just over a quarter (27%) of the industry – but on the bright side, 60% of female respondents hold senior roles. The survey also shows strong technology adoption by property managers, who have deployed an average of 2.8 new technologies in the past 18 months – largely to overcome workload challenges by boosting efficiency.
“From the continued fallout of the cladding crisis to the lasting impact of the global pandemic to political uncertainty, this survey comes at a critical time for the property management sector as it faces multiple critical shifts,” says James Lavery, MRI’s Vice President of Marketing for EMEA. “Property managers today face a raft of challenges: increased demands on their resources due to regulatory change; accelerating expectations of service from customers; and a constant downward cost pressure.”
With tech-savvy millennials now dominating the property management sector, it is not surprising that PropTech uptake is high. The report showed investment going into technologies such as property management and accounting (35%), resident portals and apps (33%), virtual tours (32%), online leasing and digital leases (29%), business intelligence (24%), and artificial intelligence or automation (16%). The survey also found that only 11% of property managers would change their preferred technology platform for a cheaper alternative, as they are happy to invest in the features they need.
Much of the technology adoption is being spurred by the desire to streamline processes in the face of tight resources, with 41% of respondents seeing efficiency as the driver for new technologies. The push for greater efficiencies is likely to alleviate workload and assist in dealing with other challenges, the research indicates. The findings show:
- A third of property managers (33%) work more than 50 hours a week;
- Nearly a fifth (19%) are individually responsible for more than 250 properties;
- Over half (51%) see their workload as heavy, with a quarter (25%) admitting to struggling with workload and mental health issues;
- 41% feel dealing with frustrated owners and tenants is the toughest part of their job.
Despite the challenges, the survey indicates the majority of all property management professionals are largely satisfied in their careers, with more than three-quarters (77%) having a positive outlook on their job and 80% saying they have a good work-life balance.
When asked about the biggest changes they foresee in the next five years, 39% of property managers anticipate increased flexibility in their work – with advancements and continued investment in the technologies that enable it. Already, 80% of respondents are using some form of cloud-based technology that allows them to do many things remotely.
“Many property managers appear to be juggling large portfolios and challenging workloads, yet they generally appear happy in their work and positive about the future,” concludes Lavery. “Looking forward, we anticipate property managers will be much more likely to see industry trends as opportunities rather than threats. This positive attitude will serve them well as they continue to innovate to meet future challenges.”