IREM seeks balance amid projected talent shortfall

Certified Property Managers (CPMs) in the United States manage nearly $2 trillion in assets and 10.4 billion SF of commercial space. A significant amount of these CPMs are expected to retire in the near future without a generation of up-and-comers to replace them. The future would appear bleak to owners and investors seeking replacements from a dwindling talent pool since the U.S. Department of Labor reported an increased need for real estate managers of 15 percent between 2006 and 2016. However, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is working to combat the projected talent shortfall.

“This demographic reality, combined with a management function that has become more complex and sophisticated, has created an almost perfect storm that is boosting demand as never before,” says IREM spokeswoman Sharon Peters.

The organization’s brace for impact was buffered by 2013’s membership numbers, which rose by 5.7 percent and passed the 19,000 mark for the first time since IREM was founded in 1933. Though the talent shortfall is not an IREM challenge per se, Peters says, the organization established “a very aggressive program” to promote real estate management as a career option to young professionals. IREM has formal agreements with 15 universities to increase educational opportunities. IREM provides information about what appeals to the next generation to current members who want to attract and retain young talent. Mortera says some of the trends mentioned at IREM’s fall leadership conference were expectations for more rapid promotion, a coaching approach to management and the use of state-of-the-art technology.


Tina Mortera

“IREM is positioned to play a key role in helping members attract and develop new talent because of their designation programs, publications and continuing education opportunities,” says Alliance Residential’s Senior Vice President of Performance, Tina Mortera.

The IREM Foundation recently approved requests from the Student and Academic Outreach Department to fund the development of an intern guide and to expand and redistribute its “Careers in Real Estate Management” booklet, according to the IREM website.

“Alliance Residential has deployed several programs and adjusted our communication style with associates to increase retention while making Alliance a great place to work and pursue your career,” Mortera says. “We have created several new communication channels using digital and highly visual media, ongoing themed competitions with prizes as well as a stylish apparel program. We have also adjusted our incentives and recognition programs with measurable, transparent metrics so that associates receive immediate and on-going feedback on performance.”

Alliance has already seen the job market become more competitive in several markets, including Arizona, Mortera says.

Bret Borg, Borg Property Services

Bret Borg

“Our increased participation and partnership with IREM was driven partly by the organization’s relationships with colleges and universities, and our desire to network with those students,” she says. “I made the acquaintance of several IREM student members at the recent Leadership Conference held in Scottsdale last October.”

IREM Arizona’s Chapter President Bret Borg, president of Borg Property Services, says that when Jay Butler retired from ASU’s real estate program in 2011, IREM lost its educational outreach and teaching opportunities. The local chapter is using 100 percent of its charitable donation funds for new scholarships to train and attract the next generation of property managers. Three Arizona State University students received scholarships in 2014 through the IREM Young Professionals program, says its committee chairman Melissa Boyle, a CPM with Arcadia Management Group. ASU has 94 students in its real estate minor (undergraduate level) and 28 students in the Master of Real Estate Development program (graduate level). ASU also has an executive-education real estate certificate beginning in March.

The IREM Young Professionals program started back up in 2009, after a brief hiatus, says Rosati.

“It seems not long after the committee regrouped and we received a bit more direction, the program increased its participation over the last three years,” says Whitestone REIT’s Steve Rosati, who has served on the committee for the last four years.


Steve Rosati

Outreach includes events, happy hours, educational/facility type gatherings.

“We not only want them to become involved in the networking luncheons and social events but, we encourage them to develop their knowledge of the industry practices and standards using the educational tools available to them locally and online,” Rosati says.

“The younger industry professionals are what allows IREM to continue on into the future,” Rosati says. “It’s their involvement and participation that helps IREM grow and develop into the organization it has become after 80 years.”


About Amanda Ventura

Amanda Ventura is an editor, award-winning writer and pop culture enthusiast. When she's not up against deadlines, she is exploring Arizona, trying recipes that require every dish in her kitchen be used, collecting 5K swag bags and race numbers and volunteering at a local animal shelter. Her bookshelf is full of autobiographies and her desk is covered in Sticky Notes. She dislikes the Oxford comma and still cannot believe she gets to meet and write about interesting people for a living.