Trends for 2012
What can the multifamily industry expect this year in terms of hiring and job growth?
By James G. Lenhardt, Hire Priority Staffing
A recent survey by CareerBuilder described the hiring outlook for 2012 as “cautiously optimistic.” However, Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder’s CEO, said himself that employers tend to lean on the conservative side when predicting hiring trends in a new year, and he expects that there will be more hires in 2012 than in 2011.
According to the Greater Houston Partnership, we can expect more than 84,000 jobs in 2012 in the energy production and distribution fields. Bruce McClenny with Apartment Data Services revealed in his latest market assessment that Austin is projected to add nearly 16,000 jobs. All of this is good news for the Texas multifamily housing market. These new jobs bring new residents, creating the need for new Houston and Austin apartment communities. The Houston area comprises approximately 3,000 apartment communities, and that number is projected to increase to meet the demands of the expanding job market.
Just as the general economic growth in our region means more jobs, expansion of the Houston and Austin apartment markets means more hiring in multifamily. Let’s evaluate the top hiring trends for 2012:
Marketing has always been a huge part of the apartment industry, and as the market grows, the need to reach individuals and families in a competitive way also increases. Social media, search engine optimization, blogging and general website presence is on the rise – and in a BIG way. Apartment communities are continuing to realize that they need to step up their game in order to get noticed among the competing communities by creating their own online presence. Because of this, many will be considering hiring an on-site or corporate social media specialist to handle the everyday social media tasks in order to increase traffic and occupancy.
Because there are more jobs to be filled than qualified applicants available, many companies plan to implement an enhanced training program to increase new and existing employees’ knowledge and confidence on the job. Many who choose to work in the Texas apartment industry do not come into the job already understanding all the regulations and housing laws (which are constantly changing anyway, requiring training just to keep up). An undereducated employee can become an unhappy employee and lead to high turnover.
Low employee turnover is important for property stability, but it is better for the apartment resident as well. Many people who choose to live in an apartment community base their decision on the amount of knowledge and the attitude of the property staff. Because of this, a well-trained staff can ultimately lead to happier, long-term residents.
Texas apartment properties have long valued employees fluent in both English and Spanish. While many companies have already been requiring that at least one employee be bilingual, the demand is expected to increase dramatically in 2012 as the job market grows.
These skills and more will be in high demand in the workplace. What will your company or property do to attract and retain talented, qualified people? Houston and Austin Apartment communities are expected to step up their use of social media to get more involved in the hiring process. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – these will be the tools that could make or break someone’s career in the apartment (or any) industry. Social media platforms can open up the world of a potential employee to a hiring authority, showing the hiring manager what the prospective employee’s day-to-day life is like, how a person acts and even what sort of people a candidate hangs out with so that the hiring manager can make a more educated decision as to whether he or she wants a given candidate to represent the property or company. Use these tools to find the best candidates and take advantage of educational programs like those offered by Houston and Austin Apartment Associations to keep them motivated and informed.
James G. Lenhardt, CPC, CTS, is CEO and executive recruiter for Hire Priority Staffing. Hire Priority has been finding jobs for property management professionals since 1990, providing temp, temp-to-hire and direct hire as well as national search for regional vice presidents, regional managers and high-level managers with offices in both Houston and Austin. Visit www.hirepriority.com for more information.