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Wednesday, 11 December

Trends Set 'Positive' for Middle East

The FM sector in the Middle East remains optimistic about prospects for growth over the coming year according to the latest research from the BIFM.

The FM Business Confidence Monitor – Middle East, a survey of FM professionals from the FM sector in the region discovered that 59% described the outlook of the FM business environment as ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ and 57% expect it to improve over the next 12 months. (The survey was released on the opening day this week of FM EXPO at the Dubai World Trade Centre.)

While 56% of respondents recognise that fluctuations with the economy could have an impact on their business over the coming year, they cited competition in the market as the biggest challenge (54%). Interviews and qualitative insights showed that competition in the region is being caused by an increasing number of FM companies operating as the their sector matures across the region.

However, an emerging issue in this year’s survey is regulation and enforcement with 21% of respondents listing this as a concern. Again insights show that advancements in this area may favour larger organisations that are better equipped to respond to the region’s regulatory environment where a gradual increase in the amount of regulation governing FM activities is expected.

The number of people working in the industry is also set to increase with 57% of respondents expecting their workforces to increase over the next 12 months while only 8% believe it will decline.


Investment and technological advances

A sustained government push to create so-called ‘smart cities’ in the region is set to increase the pressure on FM providers to deliver innovative approaches across all services.

As a direct result, 51% of respondents expect to see an increase in investment for research and development, a 4% increase from 2015, while 36% of respondents believe investment in R&D will remain steady.

Technology is considered a tool for growing business by 87% of respondents with it potentially being used to provide ‘greater depth and insight as to performance and also to tackle issues of the environment and sustainability’.

The BCM research was created as a result of a survey and supported by a series of interviews. The aim is to establish a complete view of FM market confidence by canvassing the views of the sector’s senior decision makers as well as the teams on the ground delivering those services throughout the Middle East.

“It’s encouraging to see the continued optimism regarding the long term prospects for the FM sector in the Middle East,” stated James Sutton, CEO, BIFM. “This, of course, appears to be tempered slightly by market conditions but the research appears to show that any anticipated fluctuations will not be strong enough to throw FM’s growth in the region off its upward course.”

Mr Sutton observed that having recently launched BIFM’s operations in the UAE, it was positive to see a continuing appetite for training, qualifications and professional development with 70% seeing qualifications as essential for their career development.

“The sheer volume of construction within the region, increasing tourist numbers and the fact that investors appreciate that the buildings here are very modern and sophisticated means that facilities management will only grow in importance,” explained Jaafar Shubber, Senior Project Manager, FM EXPO.

Picture: The Dubai World Trade Centre saw the launch of a survey of the FM sector in the Middle East which BIFM stated would experience sustained growth despite some difficult market conditions


Article written by Robin Snow


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