Facilities Management (FM) involves providing a quality and cost effective maintenance and care service for a wide range of commercial and public buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, office and shopping complexes, arenas, educational or convention centres. Facilities Managers make sure that facilities such as security, catering and cleaning (referred to as ‘soft’ services) and maintenance and building services (referred to as ‘hard’ services) run smoothly, so that customers can run their businesses efficiently. The sector is also responsible for property and estates management, including energy management and environmental protection.
In England there are around 166,000 people employed in facilities management in over 14,900 organisations, mainly in small organisations. It is likely that the number of people employed in FM is significantly higher. The FM industry is currently difficult to quantify due to the lack of data under a specific Standard Industry Classification code. Recent surveys show that the Facilities Management sector was optimistic about the future with 52% of companies intending to grow over the next three years, although most expect this to be moderate rather than rapid growth.
Facilities Management plays a key role in the Business Services sector, identified by the Government as one of the six areas of future growth. There is the potential to expand into new areas such as education, leisure and manufacturing sectors and the Green Agenda which is increasingly important, however employers report that around a third of their staff do not have the skills to make this happen.
Challenges faced by Facilities Management companies include:
- Staffing & Training – finding the right staff with the right skills and retaining skilled staff and helping staff get to grips with technical, procurement, energy management, customer service aspects of the job and encouraging managers to complete training;
- Attracting more young people into Facilities Management which, as a fairly new profession is not seen by young people as a career option, to counter act an ageing workforce;
- Internal factors such as increasing efficiency, managing budget cuts and keeping costs down, as well as securing funding and getting clients to pay on time;
- Market Share – competition from other organisations and the impact this is having on the ability of companies to retain existing business and secure new contracts;
- Legislation – the need to keep up to date with new legislation, particularly around the low carbon agenda as well as other areas, such as health and safety;
- Technical Skills Gaps – within FM a lack of skills in this area may result in an inability to effectively maintain or repair building systems which will have an adverse effect on energy management;
- Just under a third of the workforce have qualifications below Level 2 or no qualification at all.
Future competencies required by the sector include:
- Knowledge of outsourcing strategies; a broader set of generic management skills linked to customer service and relationship management;
- The built environment accounts for nearly 47% of CO2 emissions – the sector needs to have the knowledge and skills to help in achieving the European energy efficiency targets by 2020
- Enhanced technical and IT skills – due to the growth of intelligent buildings linked to the design of energy efficient systems;
- Skills and knowledge relating to legislation and regulation, including TUPE, health, safety and environmental protection;
- Commercial awareness and financial skills in relation to managing budgets and profits.
Facilities Management is a new industry and there has not been a traditional route into the sector. The FM apprenticeships ranging from Intermediate to Higher will help to address this and to professionalise the role. Apprentices at level 4 will be Facilities Managers or Building Services Manager. At level 5 the job roles will have added responsibility such as managing larger or multi-site contracts.
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