Demand for apartment jobs reached record levels in 2019 and the apartment labor market delivered a strong performance by the end of the year, according to the annual report from the National Apartment Association.
Demand for apartments reached record levels during the year, in turn creating a competitive labor market as owners sought talent to manage, lease, and maintain their communities, the report from the National Apartment Association’s Education Institute says.
Monthly job postings, not all of which actually get filled, averaged 10,979.
In August, total job postings in the apartment industry as a percent of the real-estate sector soared to 43.3 percent. A hectic leasing season yielded record-level occupancy rates. According to Real Page, U.S. occupancy rates averaged 96.3 percent in August, the highest rate since 2000.
Top cities showing demand for apartment jobs
Secondary markets Denver, Austin, San Antonio, and Raleigh took the lead for markets with the highest demand for apartment industry professionals.
Apartment-job demand for these areas coincided with their strong apartment-market fundamentals during the year, most notably with new deliveries.
Denver supplied 4,315 apartment job openings. Bell Partners accounted for 11.1 percent of all apartment job postings in Denver.
Availabilities in Austin totaled 2,954, and 9.8 percent of all apartment job openings in Austin were provided by Alliance Residential Company. Another large Texas market, San Antonio, posted 1,769 job openings. Lincoln Property Company was the top employer in San Antonio, responsible for 6.5 percent of all apartment job openings.
Raleigh listed 1,413 job openings. Identical to Denver, Bell Partners represented 11.1 percent of all apartment job postings.
Apartment jobs salaries
In a tight labor market, industry employers are faced with the challenge to attract and retain talent, while still managing the bottom-line.
Salary ranges can be wide depending on location, education, certifications, skills, and years of experience. In Raleigh, salaries for property managers and assistant property managers were above the U.S. average. Leasing-consultant salaries were particularly competitive in Austin and Denver.
Maintenance technicians were also in high demand in Denver during 2019, which produced salaries well above the national average.
Seattle has high concentration of apartment jobs
Denver and Seattle had the highest concentration of major apartment-job titles, with demand for talent averaging 3.1 and 2.8 times the national average, respectively.
Apartment construction has boomed in Denver as large companies such as Amazon have expanded their offices. The tech titan created 400 jobs, generating demand for more housing.
Competition for talent in Seattle was also highly competitive, most notably for leasing consultants and maintenance technicians, location quotients for these positions were about three times the U.S. average.
Competition for rental-housing labor fared particularly high in both Raleigh and Fayetteville, Ark., which experienced job growth well above the U.S. average in 2019.
Skills that are required
Employers are constantly competing for talent in a shrinking pool of qualified candidates.
Strong communication skills are critical across property managers, leasing consultants, and maintenance technicians. Employers agree that effective communication with residents, contractors, and other members of the property-management team plays an important role in the property’s performance.
Microsoft Word and multi-tasking skills had the greatest rise in demand among the many baseline skills required in the apartment industry, increasing by 1.6 and 1.4 percentage points annually.
Experience with sales, customer service, and Yardi Software also saw a significant increase in the percentage of jobs requiring these skills since 2018.
Maintenance positions were the most sought-after jobs in 2019
Maintenance positions were the most sought-after and in demand for apartment jobs during 2019.
As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general maintenance and repair occupations are projected to experience an average growth rate of six percent through 2028, which is above the average of five percent for all jobs.
A high school diploma or vocational training represented 98.8 percent of all minimum education required for maintenance technicians and supervisors. Outside of standard requirements like drivers licenses, certifications in greatest demand for these positions included EPA certification, pool-operator certification, and boiler-operator license.
Employee turnover rate falling
The overall turnover rate fell for the first time since 2016, driven mainly by the 0.7 percentage point decline in leasing positions.
Maintenance technicians continued to be the most challenging to retain, with a decade-high turnover rate of 39.2 percent. According to Grace Hill, on-boarding, employee recognition, and career paths are the most effective methods for decreasing turnover.
Sources: NAA Research; Burning Glass Technologies; CEL & Associates; Real Page, Grace Hill; Bureau of Labor Statistics Data as of December 31, 2019; Not Seasonally Adjusted.