Facility management recruitment trends

by FM Media
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Hays has released its report on facility management recruitment trends for the January to March quarter. The report reveals a number of interesting trends.

According to Hays’ report on facility management (FM) recruitment trends for the January to March quarter, candidates with strong prior FM experience in operational, consulting or contracts management and a mixture of both hard and soft skills are in demand in Western Australia. The company notes in the report that this is in response to a range of expanding FM contracts, new mobilisations and new entrants to the FM market.
Hays states that high-end health- and hospital-related roles in operations and contracts management are busy areas in the Sydney market and that good candidates with this expertise are in short supply. The state also needs data centre technicians (electrical) as new data centres have been built in response to the demand for mobile internet, increased internet speeds and secure networks, according to the company. It adds that data centre technicians (air-conditioning) are needed over the hot summer months and maintenance carpenters are also needed.
In Darwin, the award of a major public private partnership (PPP) contract to design, build and operate a new prison facility will further increase demand for FM professionals in an already tight market, Hays notes in the report. The company states that facility managers, project managers and supervisors with exposure to major installation and maintenance contracts will be in high demand, as will those that have had previous PPP experience.
In Victoria, tighter margins and pressure from clients means that additional works represent an important revenue stream for service providers, according to Hays. As a result, FM candidates with strong customer facing business development skills are needed, the company imparts.

“In response to this shortage, some employers have increased base salaries or have begun to offer additional financial incentives, such as tax breaks, parking, location or site allowance (in Western Australia) and improved work/life balance,” Hays notes. The company adds that in Darwin, salaries are becoming more competitive with Western Australia and that this trend is expected to continue.

Hays goes on to say in its report that most firms have indicated that they will recruit staff this quarter, with the preference being permanent or fixed-term contracts. “At present, employers are restricting the use of temporary assignments to holiday or illness cover. In addition, some major contracts will be won early in 2012, particularly in Victoria where the FM market will have a strong first quarter,” the company states.
It adds that in Victoria’s public sector, state government employment cuts should be counter balanced by demand in the education and healthcare sectors.
When it comes to executive recruitment, Hays reveals that there are a number of roles available at this level in Western Australia, including FM consultants (hard and soft services), senior operations managers (hard services) and senior facilitiy managers. “In Sydney, high-end roles have appeared in the medical research areas at the $150,000 and above level. In Victoria, senior opportunities are predominantly available in the public sector. Given the level of investment in major projects, commercially focused project managers are highly sort after,” the company reports.

According to Hays’s report, salaries have improved and are expected to increase further over the coming months. However, the company notes that in New South Wales salaries have remained steady due to uncertainty within the state government over funding cuts and recruitment freezes.
An increased number of employers are choosing to promote candidates into senior roles early in their career rather than recruit externally, Hays imparts. The company says this strategy has both advantages and disadvantages – it builds good team morale and aids retention, but it places a great deal of pressure on junior candidates too early in their career.

Hays has found that although there is a good pool of passive candidates who will consider career opportunities, most high calibre candidates are remaining in their current positions. The company notes that it has also seen a small influx of immigrants to ease some of the demand.
“There is still a shortage of professionally recognised and registered facility managers who hold FMA or similar memberships, which is challenging the industry’s ability to be recognised as a true profession by senior management and human resources,” Hays concludes.

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