Look to older workers for apartment managers Having joined National Real Estate Investor after three years in newspapers, I was wondering what to write about for my debut Beat Report. I needed a topic that would both give me a thorough introduction to a segment of the multifamily industry and provide our readers with useful information.

The answer came in a new and highly detailed study by the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) that examines the changing U.S. labor force and how it affects those who hire apartment managers.

Citing U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the study notes that workers 55-years-old to 64-years-old will constitute 44% of net growth in the U.S. labor force from 1996 to 2006. From 1986 to 1996, the same group accounted for only 2% of the growth.

From 1996 to 2006, Hispanic workers will grow at a 3.1% annual rate; black workers at a 1.3% annual rate; and "white non-Hispanic" workers at a 0.7% annual rate. Also, female workers will grow at a faster annual rate than males. By 2006, nearly half of the labor force will be women.

What does all of this mean for hiring apartment managers? The NMHC offers these suggestions:

* Look at workers in the 45-to-64 age group, particularly those looking for a career change.

* Offer flexible schedules to persuade part-time property managers, particularly women, to work full-time.

* Seek the help of minority managers to help in recruitment.

* Talk to self-employed property managers about joining your company.

* Recruit managers from office and retail properties.

* Offer employees in the hospitality and retail trades working conditions those industries do not.

As the millennium draws to a close, this NMHC study provides solid information by which apartment owners can learn about the shifting property manager market.

Before wrapping up, I want to say that I'm really looking forward to the challenge of covering the multifamily industry. To deliver the product you deserve, it's important that we regularly hear from our readers. Please contact me with news tips, feature-story ideas, trend observations and any other ideas for how we can improve our coverage.