The demand for professional community association managers is outpacing the number of individuals entering the profession. According to a new report from the Foundation for Community Association Research, Attracting Talent to the Community Association Management Industry: Insights to Hire and Retain Community Association Professionals, the majority of association management executives and hiring staff (97%) believe there is a shortage of community managers.
Since the 1970s, growth in the community association housing model in the U.S. has been significant— increasing from 10,000 communities to more than 355,000 today, according to the Foundation’s research. Currently, more than 26% of the housing stock is in a community association, which includes condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. In Florida and California that figure is upward of 50%. Today, there are between 55,000–60,000 community managers working in the U.S., according to the Foundation’s 2020-2021 U.S. National and State Statistical Review for Community Association Data.
As construction of new community associations continues, the Foundation and Community Associations Institute (CAI) discussed the need for attracting new talent to community association management and how to identify the benefits and challenges of the profession. Managing a community association, no matter its size or structure, requires knowledge in areas such as laws and regulations, finance, organizational management, governance, staffing, contracting, property maintenance, and resident relations. Many community associations turn to community association management companies or association-hired managers for this expertise.
The new report shows that more than half (63%) of management executives and hiring personnel have current openings for community managers; 59% say they have between two and six open positions. The report also notes that the average tenure of a community manager currently employed by a management company is five years.
Executives and hiring staff surveyed in the report say that new community managers are not just seeking adequate compensation and benefits, but they’re also looking for a role that offers them flexibility in how they work and opportunities for professional advancement. Close to half of CEOs and hiring managers (49%) say that candidates want to achieve a proper work-life balance in their role. This ties into the desire by community managers to have flexibility in hours (24%) and the option to work remotely (19%).
“As community associations continue becoming the preferred places to call home, it’s crucial for management companies and communities to locate, hire, and retain quality community association managers,” says Mark Jones, a member of the Foundation’s Attracting Talent task force and current chair of its Research Committee. Jones, an association management CEO from California, adds, “The Foundation’s goal for this research is to better understand the extent of the need to increase the pipeline of community association managers, and to help inform efforts to find, recruit, mentor, and position community managers for success in their careers. By providing insights on recruitment appeals, key benefits, work motivations, and potential obstacles to job satisfaction, those responsible for hiring qualified candidates can offer a rewarding, meaningful, and competitive profession.” “Community association management is an incredibly rewarding career. Those currently or formerly in hospitality/tourism, retail/customer service, education/training, military and technology will likely have excellent skills that easily transfer to the community association management profession.” adds Jones.
For those looking for a rewarding, flexible, meaningful career, visit the career center for community association managers.
Amy Hawkes Repke
Vice President, Communications & Marketing
Dawn M. Bauman
Executive Director, Foundation for Community Association Research
About Community Associations Institute
Since 1973, Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been the leading provider of resources and information for homeowners, volunteer board leaders, professional managers, and business professionals in the more than 355,000 homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives in the United States and millions of communities worldwide. With more than 42,000 members, CAI works in partnership with 36 legislative action committees and 63 affiliated chapters within the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates as well as with housing leaders in several other countries, including Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. A global nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization, CAI is the foremost authority in community association management, governance, education, and advocacy. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership, and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in community associations that are preferred places to call home.
About the Foundation for Community Association Research
Our mission—with your support—is to provide research-based information for homeowners, community association board members, community managers, developers, and other stakeholders. Since the Foundation’s inception in 1975, we’ve built a solid reputation for producing accurate, insightful, and timely information, and we continue to build on that legacy.
Community Associations Institute