by Brianna Crandall — September 18, 2017 — The third annual Business Confidence Monitor – Middle East, conducted by BIFM (the British Institute for Facilities Management) in partnership with i-FM.net and FM EXPO, has revealed a consistently positive outlook and steady growth within the FM industry, with some key challenges ahead.
The Business Confidence Monitor looks at the facilities management (FM) industry through the eyes of FM employees to establish industry concerns, confidence and consideration of the FM industry in the Middle East over the next 12 months. Now in its third year, every year the report offers new insights into the world of FM and the growing stability of the sector, primarily a result of the growth in the construction and property sectors.
The survey, which targets FM professionals working in the FM industry in the region, revealed that despite spending cuts in both the public and private sectors, and a reduction in marketing spend, 89% of respondents were as confident or better in their business prospects for 2017.
But the positive stability indicators seen in the survey are not without their challenges. Survey respondents said the top three challenges facing the industry were the growth in competition (59%), followed by the economy (55%) and cash flow (51%). The research also revealed that a decline in marketing spend and online presence from FM companies was prevalent, despite increasing competition.
The industry also faces a challenge when it comes to investment, with a steady decline in the number of respondents dissatisfied with innovation (44%) and a reduction in the number of respondents who expect to see an increase in investment for research and development (down to 49%).
When asked about the overall industry environment, the mood is positive, with 63% of respondents rating the current environment as either positive or very positive. The industry is also more positive about the future, with 60% of respondents expecting the FM environment to improve over the next 12 months (a growth of 3% from last year’s results).
Growth can also be seen in actual terms, with 52% of FM industries (both public- and private-sector clients) stating that they totally outsource their business, a sharp increase of 15% from last year’s Business Confidence Monitor. What’s more, 71% of respondents agreed that FM operations will become more outsourced in the future and (consistent with last year’s report), 87% of respondents agree that technology is a way to grow business. This reveals a steady shift towards innovation and plans for modest growth and expansion.
FM professionals in the region also foresee a greater financial stability, with 34% of respondents expecting to see their forward order books remain the same over the next 12 months (an increase of 14% from last year’s report). A positive outlook on financial gain is also growing, with 67% of respondents agreeing that their turnover would increase in the coming year.
The report suggests that the FM industry has growth opportunities, with over half of respondents (56%) citing that their main objective for the next 12 months is to grow their revenue and 95% believing that their business capital investment over the next year will either increase or remain the same. This perception of growth can also be found in the positive outlook on workforce numbers, with 66% of respondents expecting their workforce numbers to increase this year.
Expansion was also identified in Abu Dhabi and Dubai — both highlighted as locations that will bring new opportunities to the FM industry.
BIFM Research and Information Manager Peter Brogan remarked:
I am delighted we are in the third year of the BCM. The survey results further highlight within this period the maturity of the FM industry and the increasing desire to establish effective FM in this market through steady growth and returns. The purpose of the Business Confidence Monitor provides relevant insights into the value and perception of FM across the Middle East in the current economic climate.
Alexis Wheatley, event director at FM EXPO Dubai, added:
Whilst some challenges remain, the BCM Middle East offers a decent outlook and is positive overall for the FM industry in the region. Tough economic conditions aside, we are starting to see a maturing industry with some excellent providers and smarter clients who are intent on moving the industry forward.
A full copy of The Middle East FM Business Confidence Monitor 2017 is available to download from the BIFM Web site.