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FM Careers – Breaking into the Facilities Management Industry

FM Careers – Breaking into the Facilities Management Industry
02 July 2020 | Updated 03 August 2020

Representing a substantial piece of the wider UK economy, the potential market for facilities management is estimated to be £121.8 billion, says the Career Transition Partnership.

This is just a small part of what makes facilities and workplace management such an interesting job sector. The skills required to succeed are wide-ranging and span several disciplines and backgrounds, academic and otherwise.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the facilities management industry, particularly within healthcare, security and cleaning, gain extra attention. The facilities profession has found itself taking centre stage, protecting buildings and its visitors from the virus. 

Let’s take a look at why FM is such a dynamic career choice, and get some advice from industry figures on how best to advance within the sector.


“Being approachable, proactive and having a desire to learn will beat qualifications every day of the week. Whatever you do, whether it’s a simple process for filing job sheets to a large retender of services, always approach it in the manner that you are going to leave it in a better place than when you found it."

–Jake Matthews

Head of FM (South), Grainger PLC 


A Recommended Choice for Ex-Service Personnel


The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) provides resettlement services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Marines. They work to support the transition to civilian life and support thousands of organisations looking to employ ex-Service personnel. 

One of the industries that they recommend is facilities and workplace management, due to the operational, planning and strategic roles available.

The CTP markets FM as a “wide-ranging industry that’s always in demand and offering competitive wages and relatively easy entry points.”


Diversity of Opportunity


One of the major plus points of carving out a career in FM is the unique opportunities within it. With Soft FM referring to services that overlap with property management ( pest control, cleaning, grounds maintenance or security), and Hard FM referring to services relating to the actual structures and systems that make a facility work (fire safety, plumbing, structural, and elevator maintenance), there is a huge choice of roles available. 

Facilities management also covers a wide range of service types. Within each option, there are “in-the-field” roles that can be entered with relatively low entry requirements, but a good degree of technical training/experience. There are also “bird’s eye” roles that oversee and coordinate efforts, which usually require a degree and extra certifications, or extensive prior experience in the field.


Increased in Public-Private Partnership Funding


Working in FM offers a huge variety of opportunities as well as the possibility of early responsibility, rapid career progression and good pay and benefits. The increase in public-private partnership funding has increased opportunities in facilities management and these projects are more likely to offer financial bonuses and better salary increases, according to the CTP.


Advice for Advancing Your Career in the Facilities and Workplace Management Industry


At ThisWeekinFM we are always keen to promote the FM industry, and we feel this is even more essential in the wake of the pandemic.

Jake Matthews, Head of FM (South) at Grainger PLC told us that he sees a positive and hardworking attitude as being more important than formal training: 

“Being approachable, proactive and having a desire to learn will beat qualifications every day of the week.”

“Whatever you do, whether it’s a simple process for filing job sheets to a large retender of services, always approach it in the manner that you are going to leave it in a better place than when you found it.

Matthews’ experience has largely been on the residential side of FM, having worked in multiple national roles. As a chartered surveyor in Facilities Management with the RICS, Matthews also volunteers as a mentor and counsellor for other FMs looking to become qualified.


Taking a Step Back


Geoff Prudence, Chair of CIBSE Facilities Management recommends taking an objective, overall view of the many opportunities available in FM:

“For anyone wanting to advance their career in the Facilities & Workplace Management industry, I would recommend they step back and take an objective look at what they really want to do.

“It is best to focus on an area that you are really passionate about, and feel you can add something to whilst developing your career. Then plan out the steps you want to take.”

Prudence also recommends focussing on relevant networks, contacts and areas you can learn from. He is known for actively championing the need for effective maintenance strategies, workable designs and driving improved standards of delivery in the built environment. Prudence has also led numerous industry activities, panels, boards, improvement initiatives.

Picture: A photograph of a high rise office building

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 02 July 2020


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