Often when I speak to employers in today’s climate, there’s apprehension around the future of the market, mostly surrounding the possible impact of Brexit and other such political and economic developments. While there are certainly unknowns, there’s one truth – there will always be buildings to maintain.
This gives facilities management (FM) employers a greater sense of confidence than many – and so it should. Over the last year, as we found in the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2018 guide, FM had experienced a steady activity, even experiencing moderate salary increases. Electrical or Mechanical engineers, particularly those with HV training, saw salary increases of up to 2.8%, a full percentage point higher than the UK average. Those with experience working in Data Centres or critical environments are also commanding higher salaries, as these facilities continue to spring up all over the country. However, salary increases like these are indicative of a greater challenge – skills shortages.
Supply for talented professionals is largely failing to meet demand – a consequence of a lack of funding into apprenticeship schemes and graduate programmes over the last few years. As a result many employers requiring talent with niche skills are finding it difficult to fill their roles, and are consequently dealing with skills gaps that damage productivity and increase workplace stress.
To find the talent you need, a different approach may be required.
Soft skills; communication, organisation and stakeholder management, have become increasingly important in the last few years, particularly to larger, blue-chip companies. Employees need to be able to communicate confidently and effectively with their customers and the public. A sense of commercial acumen too is invaluable to any FM professional dealing with budgets. It may be worth hiring less skilled or experienced individuals with a strong package of soft skills before then training them in the areas you require. This is an ideal solution to long-term skills shortages.
Make better use of temporary staff
In the more immediate timeframe temporary staff can help support you in times of need. Instead of always employing temps to deal with problems or specific projects however, consider hiring them to cover your everyday tasks, freeing up your permanent team to deal with the big, value adding projects you may be undertaking.
Consider all your options
Before you know how best to counteract skills shortages, you need to be aware of the range of solutions available to you, and pick the one that’s going to offer you the right balance of cost effectiveness and efficiency. For instance, if you require a facilities assistant to support a busy workload which you know will soon abate, a temp is an obvious choice. If you find yourself in frequent need however, and spending more on temps than you need to, it’s clear you need to hire a new permanent member of staff, or make longer term plans involving the training of graduates or even apprentices.
For more insights into the Facilities Management market, and how you may need to adapt your hiring plans to deal with future challenges, request your copy of the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends guide.
For more information or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.
About this author
Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.