By Sue White
As city dwellers continue the shift to apartment living, Australians are becoming increasingly likely to talk to their neighbours waiting for the lift in their apartment complex rather than chatting across the back fence.
Recently published data from the UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre estimates that 17 per cent of NSW residents and 19 per cent of Victorians now live in a strata-managed property.
But while those living in apartments tend to think of strata management only when it’s time to pay a quarterly levy or attend the AGM, career switchers could do well to take a look at what the industry is billing as a recession-proof sector.
Strata Plus CEO Liza Perera says the role of strata managers is often misunderstood.
“Some property owners and residents may not be fully aware of the roles and responsibilities of strata managers, leading to misconceptions about their role, necessity, and value,” she says.
Technical advancements and more regulations are just two factors which have significantly changed the industry, with strata managers now required to play a greater role in dispute and defect resolution and mediation than in decades past.
“Strata managers that are managing a prestigious or elite portfolio can be earning near the $300,000 to $400,000 [level] per annum.”Strata Community Association (NSW) president Stephen Brell
“Demonstrating exceptional communication, problem-solving, and customer service skills will set you apart as a valuable asset in the industry,” she says.
It’s a combination which means those entering the field mid-career often find their skills are highly transferrable to the strata management industry. Perera started her own career as a banker, spending over 15 years at Macquarie Bank, including in its strata division.
“My background in the financial sector provided me with a deep understanding of financial management, which has proven invaluable in the strata industry, where budgeting, financial statements, and levy management are vital aspects,” she says.
Stephen Brell, president of the Strata Community Association (NSW) and managing director of Netstrata, says most workers starting out in the sector begin as an assistant strata manager, focused on administrative tasks like preparing meeting notices, budgets, attending meetings and minutes.
“You’ll also likely prepare work orders for items requiring maintenance and other administrative tasks such as by-law breach notices,” Brell says.
With this solid grounding, the role becomes more focused on relationships and project management.
“Maintaining relationships with owners, especially strata committee members is the key, [as is] providing them with reports on the major elements of their property,” Brell says.
For one of Perera’s team at Strata Plus, team leader Chanel Henry, the beauty of working in strata management is that not every day is the same.
“You are collaborating with many different stakeholders daily. I use the word collaboration with intention because sometimes owners and even property managers have misconceptions and/or misunderstandings of what the role really is about,” Henry says.
Given strata management is often dealing with problems – and with other people’s money – there are plenty of challenges.
“A calm demeanour and the ability to remove emotions from situations can be very helpful,” Henry adds.
Still, in terms of salaries, the rewards are there for those who do the job well.
Although data from the Macquarie Bank’s 2023 Strata Insights survey shows modest starting salaries, a senior strata manager with three to five years of experience could expect to earn just over $100,000 in NSW, and just under this in Victoria.
More impressively, Brell says managers with larger and more established portfolios can earn more than double this amount.
“Strata managers that are managing a prestigious or elite portfolio can be earning near the $300,000 to $400,000 [level] per annum,” he notes.
- Strata managers require a diverse skill set, including the ability to problem-solve, manage budgets and manage people.
- Good industries to transition into strata from include hospitality, project management, law, property management, accounting, engineering or surveying.
- Growing populations in our cities and the push to build ‘up’ means strata managers are likely to remain in demand.
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Source: Thanks smh.com