How Facilities Recruitment is Changing as the Industry Evolves

It's fair to say that facilities management has changed significantly over the course of the past two decades. Though the core responsibilities of the role remain the same, the sector has evolved into a very complicated and high-tech environment, requiring much more initiative and know-how than ever before.

A fast track through history

In the 1900s, facilities operatives would theoretically work behind the scenes, in areas that were out of sight of the building's general workers. Their jobs were primarily focused on the boiler room, where all of the equipment they managed was to be found. Now, many years on, facilities managers not only have boiler units and fuse boxes to monitor but also an array of complex machinery and gadgets to keep on top of, such as air conditioning units, storage heaters, server rooms and their contents and much, much more.

Though not all facilities teams need to be involved in the technical aspects of the buildings they manage, thanks to dedicated IT personnel, they must still work in collaboration with them and other relevant departments for phone line installs, electrical installations, equipment repairs and so on. This added workload brings with it the additional need for strategic planning, improved communication and more technical understanding than might previously have been the case.

Changes in facilities recruitment

The biggest change in facilities recruitment is apparent in the hiring of mid-level to senior-level staff. Companies realise the importance of the sector's role and are keen to recruit individuals with extensive experience and a strong background in managing significant projects. When looking at past projects, they are seeking professionals with an understanding of business and the ability to work with complicated budgets, as well as the capability to recognise how facilities support impacts on the wider business. Leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills are also highly appealing to managers, as they strive for sustainability. However, these attributes, combined with the aforementioned business acumen, aren’t always easy to find.

Skills and experience sought in the 21st century

As requirements tighten for senior roles in facilities management, candidates may find that their skills and experience are put under more scrutiny than in previous years. For instance, some examples of the skills that companies are now seeking include a good financial aptitude, strategic thinking, strong leadership, an understanding of modern technology, an adaptable attitude and advanced analytical skills. Any individual looking to progress to a senior position within the facilities management sector will be expected to demonstrate some, if not all, of the above, and will need to be open to expanding their current level of expertise.

Attracting staff to facilities roles

The difficulty with recruiting responsible, highly-qualified professionals is that they are usually already in senior positions and not seeking work elsewhere. It is, therefore, vital for recruiters to make the roles more appealing to candidates whilst maintaining a consistent approach to the process. There is no one perk that can attract all the right prospective employees because each and every person has their own personal goals and career aspirations. This is why it is, at times, beneficial to appropriately customise strategies when filling posts and, above all, to highlight how your company differs positively from others.

Thinking of Becoming a Facilities Manager?

Thinking of Becoming a Facilities Manager?

We'll talk you through the skills you will need to enter the sector and what kind of salary and work-life balance you can expect from the role.

A Facilities Manager is responsible for ensuring that buildings and their surrounding environments meet the needs of those working in them. Therefore, in summary, they have a duty to maintain the cleanliness, safety and security of the premises, as well as to monitor parking and respond to any building maintenance queries.

Typically, Facilities Management roles vary from place to place, but the individual would generally be in charge of planning office refurbishments, organising complex workplace moves and overseeing any renovation work within the building, including general building maintenance such as heating and air conditioning repairs or services. Most importantly, responsibilities include meeting health and safety standards as well as legal requirements, while keeping on top of budgets and expenditure. As such, the job holder is expected to think logically, be highly organised, tech-savvy and able to manage a team. Since communication is key in this post, Facilities Managers will also need to have very good interpersonal and writing skills.

Facilities Managers work approximately 40 hours a week and are expected to be available between the core office hours of 9 am to 5 pm. They are primarily based in an office but, due to the nature of the role, they will be required to move around the buildings they are managing, and at times travel across the country (if the employer operates across multiple locations). Due to their extensive list of responsibilities, some managers may be required to work additional hours to deal with emergencies or simply to get a task done outside of peak hours.

New entrants can expect a salary of just over £25,000 but, if they can build on their experience, then they could reach up to £45,000 per annum, within three to five years. Senior positions with a responsibility for multiple sites could even earn in excess of £60,000, making this a career which offers very appealing salary progression. As with most roles, the amount of experience and the level of qualifications you hold are deciding factors in how much you will earn. It's advisable, therefore, to educate yourself as much as possible with work experience, apprenticeships and courses, before applying for a role within the industry.

Although no educational course is required to begin your career in Facilities Management, relevant experience is a bonus. In addition, any applicable skills such as technical, engineering, business studies or management skills could benefit those applying for jobs within the sector. Many companies will offer their own tailored in-house training, to enable you to gain the experience and professional certification you need to work your way up to a managerial role. Whilst undergoing training or thereafter, you will likely be asked to complete qualifications offered by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) or Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), or to enrol on a postgraduate course in Facilities Management to further enhance your skills.

Simon Aspinall invited to act as Support Judge at the BIFM Awards

Simon Aspinall invited to act as Support Judge at the BIFM Awards