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Ryan McNeil

Ryan McNeil

Ryan is Associate Director for Contract, Interim and Consultancy. He specialises in recruiting for temporary mobilisation and business improvement roles

Facilities Management is in a skills shortage crisis.
 
The average age in the sector is 50+. The rate of people joining the industry is nowhere near enough to cover the drop off rate that there will be within the next decade.
 
Long term, Facilities Management needs a rebrand. Its reputation of being an afterthought career, a sector people find themselves in accidentally, needs a revamp.
 
Over the past 18 months, facilities professionals have been doing life-saving work. They’ve helped to reduce infection rates, and keep essential buildings open and safe. They’ve been staffing Covid testing and vaccination sites and doubling down in hospitals to protect the NHS from overwhelm.

FM is at the centre

And now businesses are reopening and deciding how to work, FMs are getting creative. They're readying space for reoccupation, and in many cases, coordinating space for a complete change of use - to be more collaborative. Basically, facilities management is now a major player in business continuity and growth. It’s the perfect opportunity to help people see FM as a vital and rewarding career.

But in the meantime, companies need to work hard to find the talent they need. Here are four ways to help combat the skills shortage:

Recruit from the Armed Forces

The armed forces are a fantastic basis for a successful career in FM. FM organisations can gain some serious skill and experience by looking to veterans for new recruits
 
Many will have strong technical ability. They may have experience of catering for thousands. They’ll have the ability to handle volatile situations calmly. They’ll be disciplined, decisive have great people management skills, and be excellent team players. All these are crucial transferable skills for FM.

Graduate schemes

By partnering directly with universities, FM companies could find talented people right at the beginning of their career path and build out programmes that help them see the long term potential they could have within the sector. There are career opportunities for almost every skill set – engineering, bid writing, buying, relationship management, financials, data analysis.

And with an increasing focus on technology, AI and data, facilities management is a great choice for innovative minds.

Champion Diversity

Only 15% of companies make any extra effort to attract and retain women in technical positions. Women and those from minority ethnic backgrounds each make up only 8% of engineering apprenticeships.
 
It wouldn’t take a lot for companies to differentiate themselves and become an employer of choice in this respect. Those that do will be tapping into a wealth of talent.

Use Consultants

While it is taking longer to find talent to fill positions, consultants can be immediately available to fill the gap. They offer experience over and above the role specification, and offer guidance on how best to move the position and the strategy forward.
 
Having a consultant in place can make a role more attractive to potential new recruits too. They’ll be able to see they’re picking up a role that’s been well looked after and is in a good position to move forward successfully.

Whatever companies within  the FM sector do to fill the skills shortage (us included), we need to act now to make sure that we don’t see the talent pool drying up.

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