Attracting Top Talent to Facilities Management

A young woman in a t shirt and flannel shirt shakes the hand of a man wearing glasses at the end of a successful job interview

For years, facilities management has been a career that many people “just fell into”. Particularly for those with backgrounds in trade, engineering, architecture, and other building-centric professions.

Over the years however, the role of facilities managers has shifted, and consequentially, so has the required skill set.

As the average age of a facilities management professional creeps upward, decades of knowledge in this highly-nuanced profession risks being swept away into retirement. For organisations, this represents a huge risk.

Attracting quality talent, with the broad skillset and drive that makes an excellent facilities manager, is a challenge for organisations. While there’s no one answer to the question of how to encourage the next generation of facilities managers, there are some factors to consider.

Clear career pathways

With a need to attract more talent to the sector, there is now a need to position FM as a career pathway for school leavers, and other professionals wanting a career change. There’s increasingly a push from organisations like the Facilities Management Association (FMA), to increase the visibility of what FM is, and what a career in facilities could look like.

Newly developed courses in facilities management help to position FM for those wanting a formalised education pathway. The curriculum for these courses having been developed by leaders in the FM industry, leveraging their expertise and practical knowledge to support formal learning pathways. This improved availability of formal learning pathways in facilities management is helping drive awareness and interest.

These courses do a fantastic job of equipping potential facilities managers with core skills needed in the role. However, formal learning pathways aren’t for everyone, and it’s important to stay open minded when talent presents itself sans qualification.

Mentorship is key

Facilities management is a broad discipline, reliant on both soft and practical skills. For developing those practical skillsets, having a knowledgeable, experienced mentor to guide you can make a world of difference.  

While formal courses in FM have been developed, few formal pathways for mentorship exist, and so the onus rests on the facilities management community, and organisations. For organisations needing to attract fresh talent, from a diverse pool of people, allowing the time and space for this mentorship to occur is critical to ongoing success in facilities management.

Capturing the big picture

The contributions that a facilities management team can make to the success of their organisation is limitless. From optimising capital expenditure, ensuring business continuity, improving employee safety and providing a better experience, good facilities management can transform organisations.  

It’s this potential that ambitious professionals, searching for a career that offers a degree of fulfilment, will be hunting for.

Forward-thinking facilities managers, who strive to work smarter, not harder, and constantly search for ways to improve their organisations, are paving the way for the next generation. Ambitious young professionals seeking continual improvement are ideal candidates for a career in FM.

Aligning with cultural change

Facilities management, like so many other professions, has undergone significant change to better align with shifting cultural values. From an increasing focus on reducing the environmental impact of facilities, to accounting for differently abled individuals.

As the world continues to increasingly focus on a greater good, so too does facilities management. The better organisations and teams can align to these changing cultural values, the better they’ll be able to attract and retain quality talent.

Technology at the core

The technological revolution has already driven incredible change in facilities management. For some organisations however, an under-investment in technology can send up red flags for tech-native professionals.

The adoption of technology, conversely, can help to support the vision of the bigger picture contribution of facilities management.

The past few decades have been a period of significant technological disruption. This creates an expectation that technology is utilised to support and streamline everyday processes and activities.

In today’s day and age, there are working professionals who have never had to submit a handwritten assignment. The concept of filling in physical induction paperwork then, would be a completely foreign experience.

Digital technologies that introduce efficiencies and improve the way we work are fundamental to attracting tech natives to facilities management.

Creating an inclusive culture

One of the biggest changes in the Australian workforce over the past few decades has been to embrace groups previously ostracised from the employable population.

Women, differently abled people, workers with English as a second language and other marginalised groups are contributing to the workforce far more than they’ve been permitted to in previous generations. Attitudes towards employability are constantly changing, and remaining open-minded about an individual’s potential is critical to attracting quality talent.  

Creating a more inclusive workplace starts at an individual level. Speaking consciously, absolving judgement, and remaining informed is the onus of every individual within the workplace.

Organisations that have taken a holistic approach to inclusivity have reported numerous benefits. By improving their corporate social governance in this area, they enjoy improved productivity, better retention and in some cases, new customers.  

Facilities teams have an opportunity to lead the charge in curating inclusive facilities. From ensuring door handles are an accessible height, installing automatic lighting and stocking bathrooms with menstrual products, facilities teams have the opportunity to drive positive change within organisations.

For professionals passionate about creating a big impact, this opportunity is one that may spark a whole lot of excitement around a potential career in facilities management.