Facility managers who possess the right skill set are in demand despite a competitive market and sluggish remuneration levels, the latest report says.

Releasing its report looking at likely job trends over the coming six months, recruitment outfit Hays says the labour market for facilities managers remains challenging amid significant levels of competition amongst service providers in vying for work.

But it said the first half of 2019 will present opportunities for candidates who are able to add value in the role.

“The first half of 2019 will be active for Facilities Management recruitment, with the focus on securing professionals who can deliver greater value,” Hays said in its report.

“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.”

According to Hays, employers are looking for several traits in their hires.

As a whole, it says the real-estate sector is seeking to minimise costs and improve the environmental performance of assets.

With this in mind, a growing number of facility management service contracts feature sustainability or environmental performance targets.

Candidates who understand and work toward these are favoured.

So too are those who can embrace innovation and devise cost effective solutions to reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

Beyond that, employers also value strong abilities with respect to stakeholder management.

Whereas traditionally, many facilities managers hail from a technical background as tradespeople or engineers, building managers nowadays need to engage with high value customers and keep them informed about important building matters.

As a result, managers are being asked to complement technical abilities with ‘soft’ skills in areas such as communication and relationship management.

Across specific specialisations, Hays says that:

  • Demand will be high for technical Project Managerswith an engineering, construction or architecture background who can work in a range of sectors.
  • Technical HSE professionals, Village Managersand Buildings and Project Managers with a construction or local government background will also be sought.
  • We’re also seeing demand in the public sector for Senior Facilities Managers with a commercial background or private sector experience who can drive efficiencies.
  • Technical Facilities Managerswith multi-site portfolio experience are another area of demand.
  • Technically-minded Facilities Coordinatorswho 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.
  • Growth in the healthcare, education and aged care sectors is fuelling demand for candidates with strong technical skills in these areas.
  • Housing/Property Officersare also sought in response to high turnover in the social housing sector.
  • We’re also 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 Techniciansare in short supply both in city locations and regionally.
  • Electricianswith specific and recent facilities maintenance experience are needed too. Most people have recently come off construction projects. Skilled Electrical or Mechanical Trade Assistants are in short supply too.
  • Turning to soft services, professionals in security, cleaning, helpdesk and catering are increasingly sought. Most vacancies are at the officer level, with mid and upper management opportunities available too.
  • Security Schedulersare 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 Operatorswith experience and good communications skills rather than solely a security license are needed.
  • Cleaning Estimatorsare 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. Demand is also evident in the Northern Territory and Western Australia for FIFO Chefs with remote working experience.