Facilities management staff are in strong demand as several divergent trends are driving a need for skilled personnel across several areas, the latest report says.

Releasing the July to December version of its Hays Jobs Report, recruitment firm Hays says vacancy activity across the facilities management sector will be relatively robust as almost half of all employers intend to increase their facilities management headcount during 2019/20.

“In the 2019/20 financial year, almost one half (47 percent) of employers intend to increase their permanent FM staff levels, according to findings in our latest Hays Salary Guide,” Hays said in its report.

“This vacancy activity will be grounded in several trends, namely cyber security, outsourcing, a desire for greater value, a focus on health and wellbeing and the resurgence of the mining sector.

“Requirements from aged care and mental health providers are adding to demand.”

In its report, Hays outlined several areas in which demand for skilled workers is strongest (see below).

Pointing to findings in its aforementioned salary guide, meanwhile, Hays says most facility management staff can expect a pay rise in 2019/20 but said many who may hope for large increases may encounter resistance from their employers.

Whilst 90 percent of employers surveyed for the aforementioned guide say they will award pay increases to their FM staff in their next review, almost two-thirds intend to offer increases of three percent or less.

In its report, Hays says it expects salaries to remain stable for most roles as remuneration increases are restricted by tight competition between FM service providers and a growing desirer to gain value from candidates.

This is true even for roles where there are skills in demand.

One exception is FIFO facility management, where salaries are rising in response to resurgent mining sector demand.

According to Hays, candidates for facilities management roles can stand out by adopting a customer focus and developing strong abilities in stakeholder management.

Those in the not-for-profit sector should diversify their skills sets to include asset management and an understanding of leasing functions in response to a maturing of this sector and an ongoing tendency for in-house recruitment.

More broadly, Hays talks of strategies which FM staff can adopt to broaden their opportunities and to manage should their existing functions become automated.

These include researching the market to determine what opportunities they would like to pursue should any routine and repetitive duties which they currently perform become automated, looking for opportunities to fill time freed up by automation in a way which adds value for their existing employer and thinking about gaps in the market for which they could upskill and develop expertise.

It points to a 2018 study by the World Economic Forum titled The Future of Jobs, which estimated 133 million jobs will be created worldwide between 2018 and 2022 in response to technological advances but that 75 million workers will be displaced over that same time period.

“In this way, you’re not siting back waiting for automation to knock on your door; you’re embracing change,” Hays said.

“With far more jobs created than lost, candidates need to stay on top of change to ensure their career benefits.

“Do not be complacent; be proactive and embrace technology.”

Hotspots of Demand

As mentioned above, Hays says opportunities for facilities managers will be driven by several trends.

As per the report, these are as outlined.

Looking firstly at the cyber security trend, Contract Managers, Relationship Managers, Service Coordinators, Bid & Tender Executives and Estimators with excellent technical skills and computer literacy are in demand. To be successful in gaining a role, these candidates require strong IT and infrastructure expertise. This is a response to continuous and escalating cyber security threats, with demand particularly high from service providers who want to strengthen their tenders.

Meanwhile, the outsourcing trend is also adding to demand for these same candidates. Many organisations outsource FM as a cost saving measure and as a means of delivering preventative not just reactive work.

Facilities Managers with strong project management and tender writing/bid management knowledge are another area of demand since organisations increasingly want candidates who can deliver additional value beyond that of a traditional Building Manager.

Commercially savvy Facilities Managers from a technical background who understand hard services are needed too.

Asset Managers and Facilities Managers who can improve the efficiencies of existing assets or conduct lifecycle analysis for the implementation of new assets are highly regarded, particularly in the commercial and retail sectors where organisations look to maximise their annual budgets.

Standard job descriptions for Facilities Managers are evolving to include wellbeing. As a result, candidates with demonstrated experience in this area are in high demand.

Soft skills are key for Facilities Managers looking to stand out. Companies rely on their Facilities Managers to act as the face of their organisation; client-facing experience is therefore highly regarded. Ultimately, soft skills and technical understanding are equally important.

Facilities Coordinators with a technical background gained in a commercial setting are also sought. Entry and mid-level candidates are required as top-heavy management structures are reduced and organisational efficiencies increase.

Culture & Change Managers and Health & Wellbeing Managers remain in demand thanks to the focus on health and wellbeing within the workplace.

FIFO FM professionals are required for a growing number of roles. Exploration camps also require Village Managers and Project Personnel.

In another trend, aged care and mental health providers are growing sectors. Consequently, candidates with an understanding of accreditation for disability standards are in demand.

In the residential market, good trade qualified or technical Building and Facilities Managers remain in demand, particularly across student accommodation and client-side owner/manager corporations.

Within the government sector, project management vacancies have decreased. This is in sharp contrast to 12 months ago when candidates were attracting salaries and hourly rates above typical market expectations. Consequently, Project Managers should be flexible in their expectations when looking for their next role.

Meanwhile, 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, as are skilled Electrical or Mechanical Trade Assistants.

Turning to soft services, professionals in security, cleaning, helpdesk and catering are increasingly sought.

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 communication skills rather than solely a security license are needed.

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.