Lauren Howard (4)

November 11, 2020

Posted by Home (ENG)

FM – The skill shortage.


Facilities Management and the skill shortage – referring to the elusive skill set of the highly sought after engineer. Whilst the FM industry is vast and boasts a variety of skill sets including; sales, operational, strategic management, and technical skill sets, in both soft and hard services - we often hear of the struggles to identify and engage great engineers in hard services FM.

FM, a sector thriving and full of opportunity from independent contractors, through to Total Facilities Management enterprises, all share the evolving challenge of finding a skilled workforce.
As a people-centric industry which of course focuses on bottom-line profit, the unfortunate reality is that internal training and upskilling the workforce can sometimes be overlooked, it has also been stated it is difficult to keep the skill level up to the highest standard in such a quickly advancing industry including the use of new and developing technologies.


How can the FM industry find a solution?

Firstly let’s talk about candidate attraction – the first suggestion would be for organisations to look internally at their brand awareness, attractiveness, and ultimately at the opportunities on offer. Now more than ever the millennial workforce value growth within their roles therefore training opportunities are imperative to attract and retain talent. Utilise data from previous recruitment campaigns or survey the workforce to gain a greater understanding of how talent attraction can be made better.

An average investment of between £2,000-£4,000 on training, especially for entry-level staff is essential when being onboarded. Further investment will be needed to aid continuous development aligned with emerging technologies and the industry changes(i). For continuous staff development, many organisations utilise external training providers or hire a team to absorb continuous upskilling such as a Learning and Development training team.

Employees, of course, should also be accountable for their personal development and for example enquire with their leadership team about upcoming training, joining a mentoring program, and potentially join an FM membership which gives them access to a training platform outside of their organisation.

To access early years talent, engaging with an apprenticeship scheme that encourages a younger workforce to consider a career within FM is an ideal start when it comes to an industry attraction piece. A key problem of attracting talent into the sector is the general lack of awareness around FM as an industry and career therefore a robust apprenticeship scheme can help combat this.

Another route to consider would be to have an active brand presence on social media, targeting your demographic of future engineers. Leading on from the apprenticeship scheme, career fairs at universities and colleges targeting engineering courses can offer a business a platform to be seen by ambitious individuals that have a technical skillset and are eager to gain industry experience.

Engaging with an industry-leading, FM recruitment agency will help strengthen your talent pool, give you industry and competitor news whilst also understanding the benchmark of talent available in your demographic. These companies utilise different strategies of candidate attraction, especially with recruitment data to allow you to attract a diverse talent pool and hire external talent alongside you strengthening the team you have.

None of the above are easy fixes and will take a long-term strategy and support from leadership to enable these steps to be taken. The skills shortage can be addressed firstly internally through education, training, and development and externally from an awareness and attractiveness viewpoint. As the industry continually advances is it down to the leaders of FM businesses to use their platforms to encourage talent into the sector?

As a leader within FM, what are your thoughts on this topic?