FM skills in demand: Jan – June 2019

by FM Media
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Hays Recruiting has released its biannual job report detailing the recruiting, skills and candidate trends impacting the facilities management sector.

The first half of 2019 will be active for facilities management recruitment, with the focus on securing professionals who can deliver greater value, the report states. In general, employers are looking for candidates who can manage a larger portfolio or add additional value in some other way. This is the result of service providers needing to work harder to win work.

This competition for work has also seen salaries remain sluggish, with candidates responding by looking for a new opportunity offering a higher salary elsewhere.

The resulting increase in turnover is fuelling vacancy activity and creating hotspots of skills in demand. Hays says demand will be high for:

  • technical project managers with an engineering, construction or architecture background who can work in a range of sectors
  • technical HSE professionals
  • village managers
  • building and project managers
  • senior facilities managers with a commercial background or private sector experience who can drive efficiencies
  • technical facilities managers with multi-site portfolio experience, and
  • FMs with strong stakeholder engagement skills.

Traditionally, facilities managers had a technical background, for example as engineers or tradespeople, and they sometimes had poor customer service skills. Today’s facilities managers are required to balance the technical aspects of their role with stakeholder engagement. To be successful, candidates therefore require not only strong technical skills, but also the ability to engage with high value customers and keep them informed of building issues.

As a whole, the industry is looking to save costs, improve sustainability and reduce environmental impact. Consequently, contracts now often contain sustainability or environmental targets and therefore employers increasingly request FMs who understand and can work towards achieving such targets.

Similarly, FMs who are strong innovators and can come up with cost effective solutions to reduce a building’s carbon footprint are also sought.

Technically-minded facilities coordinators who can coordinate a large portfolio or busy office space and effectively communicate and follow up with people are needed. Facilities coordinators with a soft services background or healthcare experience are also sought.

General building maintenance, grounds, gardens and civil maintenance skills are required, and growth in the healthcare, education and aged care sectors is fuelling demand for candidates with strong technical skills in these areas.

Housing/property officers are also sought in response to high turnover in the social housing sector.

Hays also reports seeing demand for candidates with asset management and database experience in the not-for-profit sector. Asset databases are critical for organisations with a multi-site portfolio.

Skilled and qualified refrigeration technicians are in short supply both in city locations and regionally.

Electricians with specific and recent facilities maintenance experience are needed, too, and skilled electrical or mechanical trade assistants are in short supply too.

Turning to soft services, professionals in security, cleaning, help desk and catering are increasingly sought, wiht most vacancies at the officer level but with mid and upper management opportunities also available.

Security schedulers are also needed. Many organisations have their PM or service manager schedule the work to save on costs. When security schedulers are required, these candidates are therefore in much shorter supply.

Control room operators with experience and good communications skills rather than solely a security license are needed, says Hays.

Cleaning estimators are another area of supply shortage, since people often perform this function as part of another role rather than in a standalone capacity.

In Western Australia and Queensland, those with a FIFO soft services background will be needed, and demand is also evident in the Northern Territory and Western Australia for FIFO Chefs with remote working experience.

In terms of soft skills, stakeholder engagement is increasingly requested in order to engage people during a process of change.

Jobseeker advice

Hays advises jobseekers to consider upskilling. A report claims the half-life of learned skills is now about five years. Regardless of your role or level of seniority, it is therefore essential to continuously upskill in order to stay relevant in an increasingly mechanised world. Here’s seven ways to upskill and keep yourself at the growing edge of your career without breaking the bank.

Finally, consider how you can demonstrate your data fluency, strategic thinking and readiness for AI-integrated workforces to stand out from the crowd, says Hays.

Image: 123RF’s Antonio Guillem ©  

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