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From the Winter 2021 Issue

Condominium Managers of the Future – Who Are They?

Special Feature

Feature || Michael Trendota, RCM

Condominium Managers of the future are condominium management students of the present. We know that these students are taking the four courses currently mandated by the CMRAO, but precious else is known about them. To date, little systematic research has been conducted to better understand these students, their demographics, backgrounds, skills, and experience. This article is the result of primary research conducted by myself, with the help of ACMO and Mohawk College. It aims to bring timely and relevant knowledge to the broader condominium community to help the industry better understand trends related to staffing and allow them to build inclusive companies for a diverse body of incoming condominium managers.

I conducted a survey of condominium management students in September/October 2021. A total of 41 responses were received, representing a substantial portion of the students then enrolled in condominium management courses through Ontario Learn.

Survey Results
Anecdotal evidence suggests that female managers outnumber males in the industry. However, the data indicates that 51% of students self-identified as male. This suggests that if there is a difference in gender distribution in the industry, it is not apparent in the student population.

The data shows that the mean age of students is 43, with the data not showing significant differences between male and female respondents. The ages were distributed evenly between 22 and 60, with a small subset of students in their 70s. This provides evidence that the industry is attractive for both first professional careers and mid/late career changes.

The data shows a significant variation in the educational achievement of condominium management students. The data indicates that 55% of students have bachelor’s or advanced degrees (including master’s degrees and Ph.Ds.). A further 26% have a college diploma or certificate, with the remainder holding a high school diploma or have some college/university experience without graduation. No students reported less than high school education. This level of education compares favourably with the 31% of Ontarians who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. This indicates that condominium management students are on average better educated than adults in Ontario.

45% of students reported that they completed their high school educations outside of Canada. I designed this question as a proxy to determine if a student has an international origin and arrived in Canada as an adult, as it is unlikely that an individual was born in Canada, completed high school abroad, and then returned to Canada. Statistics Canada data indicates that 29.1% of Ontarians were born abroad, indicating that the condominium management industry attracts a substantial number of students with international backgrounds and educations. The study, however, did not ask how long a respondent has worked in Canada, potentially masking the difference between a recent arrival and someone who has spent 20+ years working in Canada.

The Role Students Play
The remainder of the study focused on better understanding the role students play in the industry. Students were asked if they are currently employed in the condominium management industry and are currently looking for employment in the industry. These results were analyzed together as they yielded interesting results: 33% of respondents reported that they are working in the industry and not looking for a job (termed “Job Holders”); 19% said that they are working in the industry and are looking for a job (termed “Job Hunters”); 40% reported that they are not in the industry and are looking for a job (termed “New Entrants”); 5% said that they are not in the industry and not looking for a job (termed “Other”).

The new entrants are of particular interest to the profession as they represent students who are not yet employed in the industry and are looking for employment within it. These students may be without mentorship from industry colleagues and may be at risk of dropping out entirely and not making it into the industry. These students may have the most to gain from quality instruction and assistance with making industry connections. Further research is required to better understand this group of students.

Job Hunters are of note as well, as they are already in the industry and are looking for movement. These students may be looking to leave their current roles due to work environment, lack of culture fit, lack of advancement, or similar external factors. They may also be driven by a desire to relocate or similar internal factors.

The survey respondents were then asked if they were familiar with ACMO and if they were members of ACMO; 88% of respondents identified that they were familiar with ACMO. This indicates that ACMO has done a good job of spreading awareness of itself. Unsurprisingly, the 12% of respondents that were not familiar with ACMO reported that they were not members of ACMO.

Of students who were familiar with ACMO, 19% said that they were members, and 81% reported that they were not or that they were unsure. Given that ACMO membership is voluntary and requires active signup, those who are unsure if they are members are unlikely to be members. This data suggests that an avenue to increase ACMO membership might be by increasing outreach to condominium management students, providing education supports, mentor opportunities, etc. I leave further discussion of this topic to my industry peers.

I have concluded that, in sum, condominium management students are well educated and have a high potential to succeed in the industry. They are culturally diverse, are equally distributed between male and female students, and have a broad age range. They have various reasons for embarking on condominium management education, primarily to enter the industry or advance in their current firms. Finally, ACMO has strong brand recognition among students, but there exists an opportunity to bring students into the association.

I wish to thank ACMO and Mohawk College for their assistance in this research. 

Michael Trendota, RCM, BSc, MBA, Ph.D., Candidate, is a college/university instructor, a life-long student, a researcher, a public speaker, a real estate professional, and President at Alwington Communities Inc., a condominium corporation management firm in Ontario. His twin research interests are in condominium management and sustainable finance.

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