For many years Facilities Management has been subtly and unobtrusively evolving from a embryonic sub-sector, to a stand alone, mature and more importantly professional industry. Just last week it was announced The BIFM has joined forces with ITN to present a series of programmes, focusing on key interviews and event coverage. The programmes will aim to ‘define the importance of FM to society and the UK economy’. No doubt this is yet another step in the right direction towards cementing FM as a wise industry of choice for graduates and young managers. However, are there really enough committed, educated and professional candidates required to sustain and feed the talent pool required to build upon the reputation and status the FM industry is gaining?
As an FM recruiter who focuses specifically on management level vacancies, I feel I can offer a defined insight into the unequivocal chronic shortage of the ‘all rounder’ manager within the FM industry. On an almost daily basis I am asked to ensure the shortlist I am tasked with delivering, whether it be for an Account Manager, Facilities Manager, Engineering Manager, Cleaning Manager etc etc, must only include the elusive ‘all rounder’. What is this rarefied and lesser spotted ‘all rounder’ you ask? Quite simply, it is someone who possesses a mixture of traits any employer within a professionalised industry would look for in their managers; i.e., client facing, polished, emotionally intelligent, degree educated, numerate, confident and charismatic.
I will leave it open to debate as to why the next generation of young managers who possess the aforementioned, may or may not want to choose a career in facilities management, but the fact plainly remains that not enough are. There is an inherent breakdown between FM companies recruitment expectations and what candidates exist to fill those expectations. So what can be done to encourage the required influx of talent needed to support the newly found reputation Facilities has rightly cultivated?
Courses, degrees and masters in Facilities Management are nothing new as we know, this is not a blog to begrudge the lack of educational opportunities available, especially with the increase in companies and professional bodies developing programmes and courses such as ISS sponsored FM foundation degree at Sheffield Hallam University, rather this is a discussion aimed at addressing how to attract the calibre and type of individual required, i.e., the future blue chip all rounder as longingly described above.
Could we truly argue that a rounded, talented and charismatic young manager or graduate would consistently chose FM alongside more established reputable industries? Probably not. Would they attend an interview with a cleaning company or PWC, a caterer or Nike, a maintenance firm or Samsung? Probably not, however we are undoubtedly getting to a point where that elusive all rounder will seriously consider moving into FM for all the right reasons. So the question is, with multiple educational resources available, an industry going from strength to strength with market value forecast to grow over 10billion in the next 5 years, what can organisations, professional bodies, etc do to ensure high calibre individuals consistently chose FM, and in doing so, ensuring the reputation being tirelessly formed and built upon day after day is cemented alongside it’s ever alluring bigger brothers.