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SA property manager shortage?

Posted On Wednesday, 19 April 2006 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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As the South African economy booms a managerial skills shortage is becoming apparent in the retail and commercial property market. With Professor Chris Cloete from the University of Pretoria, head of training and development at the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa)

Sapoa CEO Neil GopalLINDSAY WILLIAMS: Chris, is there a shortage of good managers?

CHRIS CLOETE: I think there is, yes. The recent property boom has certainly exacerbated the problem of finding highly qualified and experienced managers.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: A property manager has to have a specific set of skills - have we been training in anticipation of the boom that we're seeing at the moment?

CHRIS CLOETE: I think Sapoa has done quite a lot over the past 10 or 12 years in trying to alleviate the skills shortage, however the job of property manager is very arduous because it encompasses everything from human skills to technical, financial and legal skills - and that's where there is a problem.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Of course those skills are being stretched at the moment with the property boom that's going on at the moment - is the number of people qualified to manage properties keeping up with the number of properties to be managed?

CHRIS CLOETE: That's a good question - I think with the large number of property funds listed recently, and the trend towards outsourcing the management, there's a need for even more managers even though close on 3,000 people have been trained by Sapoa in the past 12 years.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: What is the cost to an investor or developer of an ineffective property manager? Can it be very costly?

CHRIS CLOETE: Definitely. Property assets form an appreciable part of total worldwide assets - property makes up more than 50% of the total wealth of people and countries, so even a 1% saving in the cost of management could have an appreciable effect on the total value of property.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: South Africa isn't the only country experiencing a property boom - you can also look at areas like Dubai, for example - are highly qualified South African managers getting poached by international companies?

CHRIS CLOETE: That is happening, yes. A large number of South Africans are working overseas in places like Dubai. An increasing trend is China and India - two of the largest developing markets in the world. Of course the training South African property managers get is generally quite good, therefore they are in big demand overseas.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: Is the property management business now seen as a serious career, and something that's attracting more and more people?

CHRIS CLOETE: Yes. University training that was not in place up to about five years ago is now in place, and the demographics of the participants on these courses has moved from male to female, and from white to black. Where in the past we found the majority of the trainees would have been white males, we're now finding the majority are women or black.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: That's a good sign. What is Sapoa's role in this - you were talking about 3,000 people trained. What numbers have you got on your books at the moment, and is there increasing demand for courses to become property managers?

CHRIS CLOETE: The Sapoa office has a variety of courses from general property skills at an introductory level, to more advanced courses for middle and senior management.

LINDSAY WILLIAMS: So the future looks bright, and we may see the gap between demand and supply narrowing in the future?

CHRIS CLOETE: It's possible. I think with the efforts made by the SA Qualifications Authority (Saqa), and the skills development levy that companies contribute to, certainly there's increased demand because companies realise the importance of training.

Last modified on Saturday, 07 June 2014 10:26

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