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Facilities management steadfast in the face of change

By Richard Gelder, Director of Hays Construction & Property

Facilities management is a much more resilient industry than most. In spite of political changes and uncertainty following the Brexit vote, buildings will always need to be maintained and operated to certain standards, so organisations are continually willing to invest into this area. However, there is an atmosphere of trepidation in response to new tax legislation and the challenge of immigration restrictions which may impact the candidate pool for more junior and front-facing roles.

Market confidence is strong despite challenges

EU citizens occupy a significant number of blue-collar and front-of-house positions in facilities management and maintenance, understandably there is some concern around the security and availability of these workers in the near future. For now though, demand remains steady and the candidate pool remains rich, creating a confident market. However, an air of caution has been growing around some outsource service providers, with concern growing around the longer-term availability of staff.

Critical environments present opportunities

Areas of continuing growth have included more specialist quantity surveyor and technical engineering roles within critical environments. Among these, demand for talented professionals has grown in data centres in particular. Increased focus in data at many large organisations has led to more of these centres being created, this combined with the specialist skill set required has created a shortage of candidates in this area, and ample opportunity for qualified professionals. Maintenance engineers are particularly in demand and these professionals can command big salary rises when moving roles.

Bonuses and benefits

Salary rates are steady across the country, particularly at more senior levels. In order to differentiate themselves, many organisations seeking to attract facilities management professionals are increasing access to benefits such as flexible working and financial support for professional development, up to and including masters degrees and other courses. Qualifications from the BIFM are also becoming more popular amongst facilities management professionals. For senior staff, bonuses are growing and these are proving an effective method of attraction, however shortages of technically skilled candidates has led to a strong counter offer culture as organisations are willing to pay for the best talent.

IR35: A shift to perm?

While the market is generally strong, there is upset in some public sector organisations in light of legislative changes to IR35, which has caused many freelancers and interims working within public services to make a shift to the private sector. As time goes on we expect this to continue, causing increased demand for temporary professionals at public sector organisations, particularly senior interims in the light of transformation projects. Many organisations are investing in the development of their permanent staff to help combat the shortages.

While there has been more of a shift towards permanent hiring in the public sector, the interim market as a whole remains strong, with high levels of job registrations.

Outlook

Overall, the outlook for facilities management is very positive. The market remains resistant in light of social and political changes, and demand for professionals of all levels is strong, despite downturns in profit from some larger facilities management agencies. IR35 may pose a challenge, but as the need for strategic and technical roles continues to grow, so too will the opportunities for talented interims.

To find out more, 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.

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