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RICS FM Survey Reveals Employment Levels are Rising Across the Industry

RICS FM Survey Reveals Employment Levels are Rising Across the Industry
17 December 2020

A quarterly survey from RICS suggests that workplace and relocation management will be fasting growing area of FM over the next twelve months. 

Based on responses from facilities managers, service providers and FM consultancies, the survey details sentiment across different sectors within facilities management, the experience of businesses and professionals, and expectations of which services will be most in demand.



“My expectation is that the FM sector will continue to lead on environmental issues and health and wellbeing, which are critical priorities to all organisations.”

–Paul Bagust

Head of Property Standards, RICS 



Healthcare, Manufacturing and Education Sees Strong Growth


Unsurprisingly the RICS data showed that healthcare, manufacturing and education sectors have seen strong growth in demand, while retail continues to struggle, as accelerated growth in online shopping and a lack of footfall associated with social distancing both continue to take its toll.

For the coming twelve months, workplace and relocation management still leads the way as the area of FM expected to see the strongest growth. At the same time, cleaning services again returned particularly upbeat expectations for growth over the year ahead. 

Aside from these two areas, sustainability management saw a significant uplift in expectations over the quarter and now displays the third most elevated growth expectations over the coming year across all categories. At the other end of the scale, catering services continue to exhibit the weakest growth projections (as has been the case in each report since the FM survey’s inception back in February).


Increase in FM Headcounts


Across the FM industry, a net balance of +26 per cent of respondents reported an increase in headcounts over the quarter (up from a reading of +11 per cent last time out). 

Nevertheless, the twelve-month outlook for employment remains negative, with a net balance of -25 per cent of survey participants expecting a reduction in headcounts going forward. 

Similarly, profit margins are expected to deteriorate over the coming twelve months, as the latest net balance weakened from -29 per cent in August to -57 per ent in November. Notwithstanding this, overall workloads are still anticipated to rise over the same time frame, with a net balance of +59 per cent of contributors foreseeing an increase


Sustainability Continues to be a Priority


With regards to attitudes towards sustainability, a combined 94 per cent of respondents sense their clients consider sustainability to be either the most important issue or at least an important issue (broadly aligned with the results from last quarter). Alongside this, health and wellbeing, as well as energy management, were highlighted as the areas of sustainability that had seen the strongest growth over the past twelve months.


Market Resilience 


Paul Bagust; Head of Property Standards, commented on the results, which can be accessed here: “At the end of an unprecedented year and as we look forward to challenging times ahead it is encouraging to note how the FM sector has performed.

“From the resilience demonstrated in the early period of the pandemic we now start to plan ahead, and the FM sector will play a key role in ensuring our buildings remain not only safe and effective but high performing and sustainable.

“Innovation, technology and greater data analytics will be vital to meet this challenge as we move into the new year. My expectation is that the FM sector will continue to lead on environmental issues and health and wellbeing, which are critical priorities to all organisations.”

Picture: a photograph of an office interior, showing a breakout area with chairs and a table

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 17 December 2020


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