Years ago, many appraisers worried their industry would become obsolete. Sooner or later, machines and computers would take their jobs, and they’d have to find some other line of work. Little did they know the real threat would be a lack of talent.
While the sector is alive and well today, it could find itself in dire straits a few years from now. More than 60% of appraisers are over the age of 51. If they all decided to retire in their 60s, the industry would lose more than half its workforce within the next 10 years.
With just 10% of the workforce under age 35, this mass exodus could doom the appraisal industry. Its only hope, then, is to attract the next generation and recruit more young people.
Attracting the Next Generation
Admittedly, most appraisers entered the industry by chance. They never considered appraisal as a career choice until someone told them about the industry. In much the same way, most of today’s youth don’t even know that appraisal is a viable career choice or even what an appraiser does. This lack of awareness will continue to send this sector into a tailspin unless the older generation speaks up and educates younger people.
Of course, seasoned appraisers must also make the job seem worthwhile and interesting enough for young people to want to make it their career. Here are a few actionable ways appraisers can promote interest and awareness to attract the next generation to the appraisal industry.
Amplify Successful Voices
As you know, the requirements to become an appraiser are laborious and often include a few years of training. At the same time, appraisal fees are going down, so new hires will spend the same amount of time and money to earn a continuously decreasing wage. Many appraisers see this troubling imbalance in their own work and steer young people away from the career.
However, not every appraiser suffers this cost-benefit disparity. Professionals who go the extra mile and appraise more houses than their peers can be incredibly successful — and many are. The younger generation deserves to hear these success stories before deciding whether or not to join the industry. Amplify the voices of those who have achieved great things within the appraisal industry and share their accomplishments. You might even point young people in their direction to receive training.
Share the Benefits
Unlike baby boomers, millennials value a flexible schedule, remote work opportunities and plenty of vacation time. However, they also want health insurance, retirement accounts and health care reimbursement accounts, just like their parents. Jobs that offer additional tuition assistance, commuter benefits and wellness perks are even better.
Appraisers don’t typically receive all of those benefits. However, telling the next generation about perks that do come with your job might encourage them to enter the industry. Flexible hours and part-time remote work may be the most motivational. Also, telling them that seasoned appraisers make $400 to $500 on each home can help convince them. If they commit to the industry, they could make a six-figure salary one day.
Talk About Tech
Like it or not, technology is disrupting the appraisal industry. Valuation tools have taken center stage as homebuyers and lenders aim to hasten the buying and selling process. Sadly, less than half of appraisers plan to invest in software or technology. If these professionals refuse to budge on the issue, they could expedite the entire industry’s demise.
The next generation wants to see technology at work — and they want to be a part of it. Whether they’re using social media to gather data or flying drones to take better exterior photos, millennials know that technology will inevitably become integral to the appraisal industry — and making a better salary. Therefore, it’s essential to talk about tech you already use and how they might use their technological know-how to develop a more digital approach to appraising.
The Appraisal Institute plays a crucial role in attracting the next generation. However, each appraiser and AI chapter also has a responsibility to support young students and trainees in pursuing a job within the industry. One of the best ways to reach today’s youth is to get involved in local high schools and universities. Introduce the profession when they are still young and have a chance to switch their major or change their career path.
Once they do, it’ll be up to you to mentor them and provide opportunities to get their foot in the door. Participate in job fairs and offer internships and mentorship programs for interested students. Companies that can provide scholarships and paid internships should do so to further incentivize entering the appraisal industry. The more you can offer in terms of compensation and support, the more likely they are to follow in your footsteps.
Drop the Trainee Title
Millennials are ambitious and expect to advance their careers rapidly, regardless of whatever field they choose. Unfortunately, current regulations and licensing requirements demand trainees to complete at least 1,000 hours of training before qualifying to take the licensing exam. Upon passing the exam, they must then train under a certified appraiser for several years before finally leaving the title of trainee behind.
These stringent requirements can and will continue to deter young people unless the industry changes them. Of course, revising regulatory burdens will require the AI to flex its lobbying arm. However, dropping the trainee title — and the requirements that come with it — would likely attract young people looking for a fast track to success and a more distinguished designation.
The Future Rests in Your Hands
The world is full of bright, eager young minds, and it’s your job to find them. Visit high schools, introduce industry curriculum to local universities, and talk to your kids and grandkids about your job. Use your strengths and stature to influence the younger generation. Invest in their education and offer to mentor them if you have the resources to do so.
Years from now, the appraisal industry will still be alive and well — if you make a sincere effort to attract and support the next generation of appraisers.
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