But there is one sector where employers are always looking to recruit quality people: residential leasehold property management.
It is not a profession that the majority of those graduating will have thought about or even heard of but a career in residential leasehold property management offers genuine long-term career prospects with the opportunity to develop some unique and transferable skills.
“This is not just about a job for the sake of getting one” comments Brett Williams, chairman of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) and Partner at Curry & Partners in Birmingham, “a career in property management offers real progression and future prospects. The nature of the leasehold sector means that today’s property manager needs to be equipped with and develop a rich blend of skills: people and project management; leadership skills; budgeting and accounting; an understanding of the relevant legal frame-work – these are all qualities expected of a property manager”.
There is more to it than just the development of skills; the profession can be genuinely rewarding and the challenges faced by a property manager are varied and constantly evolving. In some cases, a leasehold property manager could expect to be provided with their own portfolio of properties to manage, a dedicated assistant and accountant as well as their own car to travel around. The job is not desk-bound either; day-to-day property managers might expect to meet residents, discuss issues with landlords and supervise maintenance works by dealing with contractors or improvement works with landscape gardeners.
But it is not just graduates who are facing some tough times. Many school leavers are finding it difficult to get places at their chosen university. There are 170,000 more candidates than spaces this year with more than 660,000 people applying this autumn. This leaves many with the daunting prospect of missing out on getting qualifications. And if you don’t have qualifications it can be tough. Property management not only offers a progressive career but also a direct route to specialist qualifications. The Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) offers the only recognised qualifications associated with residential leasehold property management. Qualifications range from entry level Affiliate to the experienced Fellow. This, in turn, can also be the road to promotion once in the sector.
“Ours is a sector which thankfully has remained largely unaffected by the recession” continues Williams, “not many property managers have been made redundant as a direct result of the downturn; residential leasehold blocks of flats and estates are always going to need managing and there will always be a need for quality people to do it. The increasing complexity of the leasehold sector throws up fresh challenges daily so quality people are more in demand now than ever. Property managers have the responsibility of managing someone’s most treasured possession, their home, and handling large sums of other people’s money. This can be challenging yet hugely rewarding. Property management is about people, property and skills – a truly unique sector with unique prospects.”
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