Hiring in block management: Where is the next generation of block professionals?

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

27 July 2023

The future of block management can seem bleak – staff turnover is high, and people are leaving the profession. A recent report by ARMA & IRPM showed less than half see themselves staying in the industry in 3 years. With an ageing workforce and younger staff preferring digital communication, companies face challenges in recruitment and training. 

But solutions are possible. In this blog post, we sat down with industry experts for a deep dive into the problems and real solutions for developing the next generation of property managers. 


Is home-working stunting professional development?

Fiona Docherty
, Managing Director, James Andrew International

"In my opinion, there is no mass exodus from the sector – it’s an issue of quality. The lack of training in the industry means you get CVs from people who have been in block management for two or three years, but they’re not an expert in anything. They aren’t given the training to learn the trade."


Richard Benson, Managing Director, Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward

"One of the issues with agile working is that even if you do hire someone at the training level, hybrid working means they’re not exposed to more senior managers. When I was a trainee, I sat next to a senior property manager all day, and I’d pick things up from them. They’d tell me what they were doing, or I’d ask – learning by conversation. With agile working and only half your people in the office, you’re not going to get those learning opportunities."


Danielle Parker, Director, Inspire Property Management

"At my agency, we have a system where we partner trainees with senior staff to make sure they’re in the office on the same days so they can sit down with each other. Having that support is the only way you’re going to learn."


Could the next generation be the previous generation?

Nigel Glen,
Non-Executive Director, Emeria

"During the pandemic, we had an influx of people from the hospitality sector becoming property managers. That was really positive because they had very strong customer service skills and could hold themselves together when the job gets tough. But now there’s the question of where the next pool of talent will come from."

Nygel Scourfield, Director, Highbury Advisory

"One thing we’re becoming aware of is the over-65s. When I was working at B&Q, we did a test where we lined up a few employees of all ages and asked our customers who they trusted more to give them advice on DIY. And always, the answer was Sid, who was an 80 year old postman. He knew very little about DIY, but people trusted him because he knew about life.


All customers really want is someone with confidence, life experience and people skills. There may be a lot of technicality in property management, but that’s not an impossible hurdle. If you look at somewhere like Scandinavia, 25% of their over-65s have secondary jobs after their main careers and are really fulfilled by that."


Niall McGann, Group CEO, Fexco Property Services

"There’s also a generational challenge where younger people mostly use texting to communicate – digital natives born after 1990 who don’t want to pick up phone calls. The conversational skills, the life skills, of over-65s are really useful because talking is half of your customer interactions. On the other hand, the tide is turning because younger customers also prefer digital communication."


Creating a positive industry

Nigel Glen,
Non-Executive Director, Emeria

"After COVID, many people have gone back into other professions because that’s their passion. But nobody ever really says, “I want to be a property manager, I want to do that for the rest of my life.”


Nygel Scourfield, Director, Highbury Advisory

"The property management industry needs to be able to say positive things about itself. In hospitality, you have things on TV about how wonderful it is to work in a 5-star hotel, and that’s why people join Travel Lodge – to get started on that journey. But all you see in the newspapers every week is how dreadful property management is. We need to get positive stories out there if we want to appeal to people.

Outreach programmes are important for this, especially when big companies get behind it. When I was at FirstPort, we started a graduate programme. In the first year, we struggled to get 10 applicants. In the third year, we had over 200 because universities believed that we had something to offer. When we tell students and universities that we have something to offer, they do buy into that, and it does work. I’m still in contact with some of the people who were graduate trainees six or seven years later."

👉 Once you’ve found your staff, how do you make sure they stay? Get our guide to staff retention in block management here.


This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions related to issues in this article, we strongly advise contacting a legal professional.
These blog posts are the work of Fixflo and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In summary, you are welcome to re-publish any of these blog posts but are asked to attribute Fixflo with an appropriate link to www.fixflo.com. Access to this blog is allowed only subject to the acceptance of these terms.

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

27 July 2023

Be the first to hear about new content for property managers

eBooks and webinars, always free

  • Data-driven industry insights
  • Compliance and legal updates
  • Property management best practices