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Turn staffing challenges into opportunities

In the summer of 2021, AppFolio sponsored a survey of over 1,000 property management professionals to gain a firmer grasp of their top challenges. More than 50% of respondents put HR, staffing, and recruitment at the top of the list, with 74% citing it as one of their top three challenges. To understand what actions our industry must take to reverse this trend, AppFolio partnered with IREM® on a new study to survey boots-on-the-ground property managers, leasing agents, maintenance technicians, and other staff to find out what it is they want. Here are some topline results:

Compensation appears to be the top driver/inhibitor of satisfaction

According to the survey, employees unsatisfied in their role are much less likely to be satisfied with their current salary and benefits. The top reason employees are considering switching industries and/or companies is to find a better paying position (better benefits also ranked high). Salary increases were the top driver of improved job satisfaction, and when asked “What are the most important changes your employer could make to improve your overall job satisfaction?” increasing compensation was the top answer, nearly double the second most common answer.

There’s a perception that opportunities for career growth are lacking

Property management employees are least satisfied with “Opportunities for career growth.” Only 59% of survey participants indicated satisfaction with their opportunities for advancement. After the connection between pay and performance, the biggest gap between employees who are satisfied and employees who are not satisfied was found in career growth opportunities: 69% of satisfied employees see opportunities for career growth, while just 27% of employees who are not satisfied see opportunities for career growth. As 2022 IREM President Barry Blanton explains:

“We don’t do a terrific job of explaining what other options there are… there are multiple disciplines within our industry and profession. And sometimes, people either aren’t made aware of what some of those things might be, and where their passions might be better suited, but they’re out there. They range from accountants to human resource management professionals, to marketing professionals, maintenance and facilities management, technology, and finance.”

Reducing busywork and leveraging technology can improve satisfaction

The survey found that over 40% of employees’ time is spent on busywork, and 14 hours per week are spent on tasks that could be automated or streamlined. Satisfied employees experience less busywork and see more room for improvement through technology. When asked, “What changes has your employer made in the last 12 months that have improved your overall job satisfaction?” 25% of respondents answered, “Improved processes and workflows.” Based on these responses, this audience believes almost every aspect of property management can be improved with technology. For example, the biggest opportunity for automating or streamlining the marketing and leasing process is around processing renewals.

These findings are just a taste of what you can expect from the 2022 AppFolio Property Manager Hiring and Retention report. Access the report and other industry resources by visiting

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