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Are qualifications essential in Facilities Management?

​Should a candidate be discounted for a role because they don’t have a degree? – is a question I often get asked in the industry and discipline I work within.

I cannot argue that some positions within Property and Facilities Management do benefit from higher education, but does it offer any value for roles such as general Facilities Managers - or is experience the key?

For those looking to get into Facilities Management a degree will always show a level of higher learning that can set you apart from your competition. It shows a desire to learn and motivation to progress your career, however, in the current market, where employers are experiencing a candidate shortage - it definitely shouldn’t be a pre-requisite for entry.

Facilities Management is quite often a career path that is pursued once an individual has already entered the workforce. When asking candidates how they came to work in this discipline it is not uncommon to hear ‘I just fell into it…’ As a result, a large proportion of Facilities Managers come from experience-led backgrounds with on-the-job training and can secure positions based purely on their career history rather than whether they achieved a 2:1 or not.

In saying this, evidence does suggest that those who possess qualifications specific to their discipline tend to attract an increased salary and earlier promotion opportunities. For those already working in Facilities Management, the opportunities to commence study and training while working are readily available.

Most Facilities Management companies offer Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) training and, as one of the fasted growing professions in the UK, are happy to pay for membership to the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM). BIFM qualifications are also becoming more common, with many employers requiring their staff to achieve L4 certification.

For more senior roles in Facilities Management such as Commercial Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Account Directors and Business Development Managers the skills shortage is even more pronounced. Certifications such as MRICS and BIFM Level 5 are being looked for to set candidates apart and on the job training in the lead up to attaining these is invaluable.

Similarly, as the focus on corporate social responsibility and maintaining an environmentally friendly infrastructure increases, Facilities Management professionals who have qualifications in these areas are becoming increasingly sought after as more roles with this niche focus are created. Whilst some companies may go to the market to source candidates with these skills, many employers will be willing to pay for the right candidates to study different areas of those secondary specialisations. Incentives such as these can set a company apart from their competitors in the war for talent, allowing them to attract higher quality candidates.

Whilst it is clear that there are definitely some benefits to entering the Facilities Management field with a degree or higher education under your belt, this should not be considered a barrier to entry. On-the-job training and discipline specific qualifications such as MRICS and BIFM certifications are highly regarded in this area and will prove invaluable in progressing your Facilities Management career to the next level.

Ros heads up the Interim and Consultancy Property and Facilities team and recruits across all disciplines within property and facilities. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Ros on or +44 (0) 20 7065 7029