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10 SEP 2019

Neil Shah joins panel to ponder future of assessments

Amie Silverwood

Amie Silverwood

Content Manager - Communications and Media

Toronto, Canada

RICS

At the 85th annual IAAO Conference and Exposition in Niagara Falls, Ontario on September 9, Neil Shah, Managing Director for RICS in the Americas joined a panel of experts to discuss the impact of technology on the role of the assessor and how the valuation profession overall is evolving.

"We've been asking ourselves, what is the future like?" said Shah. "What skills do we need as valuers and property tax assessors heading into the future? And what we've heard from the profession is that future workers will need more multidisciplinary training."

Assessors now have more information at their fingertips than they ever had in the past and this has had a deep impact on how property is valued. Qualified professionals will need to continuously evolve through lifelong learning to remain confident in the use of the available data and technologies used to sort through it.

Shah was joined on the panel by Shelley Graham MRICS, Manager of Assessment Standards and Mass Appraisal at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) in Ontario. Her role requires recruiting a team that has both a deep understanding of valuation and secure technical skills.

We build out a team where there's a diverse skill set. We have specialized people – everyone doesn't have to be experts on everything. They can mentor and help other people.

"A good modeller is not a person who has valuation skills," says Graham. "Not just a statistician. Not someone with a PhD in data science." She describes her need for a team with a background in valuation and local knowledge but also specialists in data science, IT and other analytical skills. Everyone must have a solid foundation in appraisal, but the training can't stop there.

"We build out a team where there's a diverse skill set. We have specialized people – everyone doesn't have to be experts on everything. They can mentor and help other people."

This need for a diverse team with various skills makes hiring a challenge. No longer can recruiters go to a campus to recruit graduates from traditional streams. New recruits can come from a variety of fields. But as the field of recruits grows, so does the competition. Students with the technical skills required for mass appraisal can also work in banking and many other sectors. "Everyone wants to leverage their data," says Graham.

Recruits are more educated today but that doesn't mean they're trained for the job. Hiring a diverse team requires managers to develop customized training to bring team members up to speed.

"It makes hiring and building a team difficult," admits Graham. "Training has to be built specific to the individual based on their background and experience." The investment is worth the effort, she adds, since it results in a more robust team.

With technology developing at a rapid pace, professionals need to commit to lifelong learning to ensure they're evolving with it.

Amie Silverwood

Amie Silverwood

Content Manager - Communications and Media

Toronto, Canada

RICS

Amie Silverwood is the Content Manager – Communications and Media for RICS in the Americas.

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