Talent shortfall hits FM — see what needs to happen to fix it
  • US $1 trillion profession “desperately needs influx of new blood”
  • Career paths in FM undergoing “significant change”
  • Profession “must transform image” and focus on strategic impact of FM

by Brianna Crandall — March 29, 2017 — The FM industry is facing a critical shortage of professionals and urgently needs to attract new talent, concludes a new research report by the U.S.-based International Facility Management Association (IFMA), which supports over 24,000 members in 104 countries, and U.K.-based international real estate accreditation organization the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The report, called Raising the Bar: From Operational Excellence to Strategic Impact in FM, is in its third edition and was launched in Shanghai this week during the Annual Summit of the World Built Environment Forum.

More than 2,500 facilities managers from around the world were surveyed as part of the research report. It calls for the FM profession to transform its “Cinderella” image to attract diverse new talent, as the average age of the workforce is currently 50.9 years.

The report also identified the need for an increased focus on the strategic impact of facilities management as well as increased efforts to champion the benefits professionals can deliver in workplaces and to the people and organizations that use them.

Tony Keane, president and CEO of IFMA, stated:

This valuable report provides empirical support for what many FM professionals have been saying for years. It should serve as a clarion call to action for the global FM industry. Our collaboration with RICS ensures our global thought leaders within the FM industry will have the platform to attract fresh new talent to workforce management. By supporting universal standards and practices and fostering a greater appreciation of the impact of facilities and workforce management, we will enhance the outstanding service FM professionals provide to the built environment, ensuring the transformative effect on workplaces and the people who use them.

According to U.K. Commercial Property Director Paul Bagust:

In the past, facility management has been seen as a Cinderella profession, which explains the problems in attracting and retaining new talent to replace professionals when they leave. To challenge this image, we must increase our strategic focus and champion the ways in which facility management can enhance productivity in the workplace, and show the vital role that FM professionals play in the workplace.

Bagust added that as working practices evolve in the digital age, facilities managers will need new skills based on collaboration and forging interpersonal relationships:

Our innovative collaboration with International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is an exciting development to encourage and nurture these skills.  And, by working together to standardize working practices and standards across the globe, we will unite the FM community and ensure it is ideally placed to attract a diverse range of new talent and take advantage of the opportunities that exist for this dynamic and fast-evolving profession.

IFMA and RICS launched a global collaboration in April 2016. This collaboration represents a significant evolution in the FM sector, providing an unprecedented level of industry support to meet the growing demands of the 25 million FM practitioners around the world, say the partners.

The full Raising the Bar: From Operational Excellence to Strategic Impact in FM report is available for free download from RICS.