Overcoming the Talent Shortage

By Stephanie Anderson |

April 1, 2020 |

Updated August 4, 2021

4 minute read

As of December 2019, the national unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, the lowest level since 1969, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But unfortunately, low unemployment and continued industry growth have conspired to make recruitment a big challenge for most employers.

Nearly 40 percent of available real estate jobs in the nation were in the apartment sector during the fourth quarter of 2019, which is well above the longer-term average of 30 percent, according to NAAEI's Apartment Jobs Snapshot. Property management positions were the most sought after during the fourth quarter. Leasing consultant job openings had the largest growth in demand, with a year-over-year increase of 0.8 percentage points. Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., continued to lead in highest level of apartment job availabilities, and leasing consultants and maintenance supervisors had the highest growth in demand over the past five years, increasing by 1.9 percentage points.

To attract top talent, employers around the country will have to do more than simply advertise a great job. They will need to craft an enticing job description, provide creative benefits packages and provide a memorable interview experience. At the same time, to stay competitive they must be strategic in how and where they look for candidates. In addition, the need for 4.6 million new apartments by 2030 presents additional challenges to retaining top talent while investing in new employees. Now is the time to make the investment.

Training Differently—and More Effectively

Your company should create a happy environment for employees that demonstrates positive reinforcement, boosts employee engagement, increases employee performance and improves retention rates. Studies have shown that when effective training takes place, turnover not only decreases but employees perform better.

Are you evaluating your current training platform and requesting feedback from team members on how to make it better? Are you offering a combination of learning opportunities that fit diverse employee backgrounds, ages, experience and learning levels? Doing these things is the key to having a training program that is both engaging and effective for all.

The first step is fostering a culture of learning that begins with top leadership and trickles down to all management and employees companywide.

When planning training events, you should consider the Curve of Forgetting graph (originally called The Ebbinghaus), which easily demonstrates how quickly we forget new information. On average, employees forget 90 percent of what they learned in a single training session within one month and 60 percent within one day. So make training memorable and fun for all by using methods such as gamification, creative engagement, interactive play and buzzworthy excitement. Employees will often share their unique training experience with others—especially through social media—drawing attention to the investment their company is making to grow employee talent. It can encourage fellow employees and potential new employees and invites other companies to improve their own employee culture.

Closing the Generation Gaps

Effectively managing current workforce demographics plays a critical role in talent management. As fewer people are able to retire early because of insurance costs and lack of savings, it is important to note that there are five different generations in today's workplace, all with a variety of needs:

  • Traditionalists — born before 1946
  • Baby boomers — born between 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X — born between 1965 and 1976
  • Generation Y (millennials) — born between 1977 and 1997
  • Generation Z — born after 1997

Managing employees is more difficult than ever as we develop individualized career paths and training programs tailored to the different learning styles of each generation. Encouraging cross-generational mentoring can help. For instance, a traditionalist may offer direct on-the-job experience, while millennials support technology efficiencies that allow better time management.

Companies should continue to focus heavily on millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. labor workforce according to Pew Research Center. By 2024, about 25 percent of the workforce is projected to be older than 55 (compared with 12 percent in 1994). Knowing such demographic data is important when planning and implementing training programs for your company.

Opportunities for Resolution

  • Creative benefits packages. They don't have to cost a lot to be effective. According to Glassdoor 2019, "57 percent of job candidates report benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job." Examples include days off for volunteering, tuition reimbursement, mental health days, bring-your-pet-to-work day, flexible scheduling, leave share, remote work opportunities, and health and wellness programs.
  • Diversity and inclusion initiatives. Sixty-seven percent of job seekers consider diversity a factor when they evaluate job opportunities. How is your company evolving, and what impact are you making for future leadership?
  • First impressions matter. Focus on mentoring and onboarding. Avoid early turnover by ensuring that new employees have a smooth and rewarding onboarding experience.
  • Encouraging personal development in your culture. Offer headshots to team leaders, discuss personal and professional goal-setting during annual and quarterly reviews, and initiate team-building events, such as vision board creations and conferences or seminars outside of the industry.