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Manpower Shortage In Property Management

By on Apr 24, 2012 in Featured, Property News

Published on The Nation dated 23 April 2012 by Aliwassa Pathnadabutr, Managing Director of CBRE Thailand

This year, one of the serious and growing problems facing the property industry is the lack of trained and experienced human resources.

Each year, more than a hundred new buildings of all types are coming into the market. Whether they are condominiums, offices, hotels, serviced apartments or retail centres, they all require a number of staff to manage the buildings. Most building owners prefer to have experienced staff, but with the great number of new buildings coming up each year, it is impossible to have well-trained and experienced staff to fill up all positions.

The need for having expertise in maintaining and managing the buildings becomes crucial. Aggressive recruitment in the industry is pushing up salaries and wages substantially, with high salaries at the management level that may exceed the true value or experience of the individual.

The problem is intensified at the basic level for guard services, cleaning, and general staff by the government policy to increase the minimum daily wage to Bt300. The cost of security, cleaning, and technicians from the main service suppliers is now increasing from a minimum of 30 per cent up to 50 per cent for some buildings. Hotels, serviced apartments and single ownership buildings probably have advantages over condominiums in deciding on this issue. In the case of the condominiums, if the cost exceeds the budget and results in an increase in the common area maintenance fee, it will require majority votes at the annual general meeting.

The higher labour cost would increase the budget for managing the building, but in many cases, the quality of the manpower does not seem to match the higher cost.

Part of the problem is the rapid growth of the industry, the lack of resources and the lack of proper training.

At the management level, from the career development perspective, the property industry lacks a specific curriculum for property management. A good property manager not only should be qualified in building management but also needs to have strong communication skills, and be decisive and service minded. For example, to be a qualified property manager, the qualifications should cover knowledge and skills in physical building management, financial planning and budgeting, building operation and procedure, and marketing. If a building is for rent, she/he must have knowledge of handling leases. Knowledge of legal issues is also required. If it is a condominium development, she/he must know related condominium laws.

In Thailand, a few universities have programmes in real estate and most courses available are not degree courses short-term ones with certificates or higher education specialising in a certain area at the graduate level. Most property managers work their way up from lower positions, gaining experience without any previous background in the property business.

Finding qualified staff is a critical problem for most industries having strong growth. Landlords and building owners should be well aware of the situation and be prepared to face the higher cost for qualified personnel. In the past, a career in property management may not have been the first choice for new graduates, but today and in the future, there is strong demand for qualified property managers.

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