This article is contributed by Helbling & Associates, a retained executive search firm specializing exclusively in facilities management, construction, engineering, and real estate development.
Decades ago, facilities management (FM) simply entailed making sure equipment was operating well, buildings were maintained, and campuses were attractive. Fast forward to 2017, and FM still includes those aspects but has also evolved into an innovative and complex environment of technological and operational advancements.
While facilities teams back in the 1900s (yes, that’s right) worked mostly in boiler rooms and other “out of sight” areas, they now have much more exposure. Mid- to senior-level facilities executives work in partnership with the leadership of their organizations to strategically allocate resources (staff and financial), analyze strategies, and implement initiatives related to sustainability, capital programs, energy management, and other concepts. Organizations have lofty objectives, and they demand much more from their facilities teams, making recruitment much different than before.
Jim Lord, Managing Director with Helbling & Associates, has been a search consultant in the facilities sector since 2000. He says, “Facilities management has changed drastically in the last ten to fifteen years. Numerous new technologies have been developed, the talent pool has tightened due to the ongoing retirement of baby boomers, and organizations are aggressively seeking fresh, innovative talent that can leverage the many advancements transforming the sector. All of these factors are combining, creating a strong need for upper-tier professionals, which in turn, is demanding that recruitment be aggressive and proactive to secure the right individuals.”
Skill Sets In Demand
“The necessary skill sets to be successful in mid- to senior-level facilities roles is where facilities recruitment has changed the most,” emphasizes Lord. “Institutions, corporations, and other types of owner organizations want facilities professionals who have strong business acumen and financial aptitudes, and who understand how to analyze life cycle operating costs and returns on investments. They want individuals who have the abilities to develop and manage budgets, and who consider facilities from a business standpoint. While these capabilities are preferred, not far behind are intangible, soft skills that are especially attractive and consistently mentioned by our clients. Those traits include well-developed leadership capabilities, and the ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with communities, board members, end-users, and teams. Individuals with all of these attributes can be challenging to find.”
Wes Miller, also a Managing Director with Helbling, adds, “The robust recruitment within the facilities sector stems from many factors spanning the need for effective utilities management to the implementation of sustainability. Additionally, many healthcare and higher education institutions as well as entities in the for-profit sector are embarking on major capital construction programs that entail considerable investment. They want their projects to be cutting-edge and progressive. Therefore, they need professionals who understand how to oversee and manage projects of significant size and scope and who have strong knowledge of the latest technologies and advancements that can save money and make a project successful over the long term. Owners are savvy, they know the modern building methods that are out there, and they want to capitalize on them.”
Read the rest of the article on the Helbling & Associates website.