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Addressing the recruitment shortfall within FM in 2024


On the cusp of a new year, organisational demand on workplace and facilities management (WFM) remains high. Today’s agenda for the sector spans issues as varied as employee experience, sustainability and EDI, (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) underpinned by data and technology; that’s before the daily challenge of managing buildings, ensuring safety, efficiency and compliance. Demand is a good thing; it shows that WFM is increasingly seen as a lynchpin role tying together numerous organisational threads and helping to drive organisational performance.

However, obstacles remain in recruiting employees to meet organisations’ needs. These include a low awareness of the sector’s rich array of job roles and career advancement opportunities among school leavers and jobseekers; making WFM a career of choice to encouraging training and development, to ensure long-lasting, impactful careers; plus, highlighting the importance of the profession’s role in driving success across a myriad of organisations. To help address this shortfall in the new year, it’s important to devise solutions to each issue. That’s where IWFM comes in.

WFM offers so much of what today’s jobseekers want: fair pay, flexible working, upskilling and reskilling, plus the opportunity for a varied and impactful career. It’s vital to share that message through every avenue. At IWFM, we’ve advocated for the profession for over 30 years, enhancing the sector and benefitting professionals through industry-recognised training and learning resources. Our mission is to position WFM as a career of choice for professionals from all backgrounds.

Indeed, it’s vital to recognise the variety of professionals that can be attracted to WFM. Recently, we’ve seen increased interest from the Armed Forces community, professionals beginning their career, professionals transitioning back into the workplace after a break and young people. We’ve created networks to bring diverse groups together for mentorship and support, sharing industry insights and learnings.

Furthermore, there needs to be a greater emphasis on the different career paths available in WFM. Through upskilling and reskilling, professionals can gain and develop skills which will enhance their organisations. Professionals can be encouraged to exploit these opportunities and organisations would benefit from adopting them, to boost their teams and their own outcomes. With these initiatives, professionals can improve their own prospects, gain transferrable skills and enhance the sector’s lynchpin role. At IWFM, we are the sector’s standard setter, having developed the Professional Standards framework and a suite of qualifications and training, from entry to Master’s level.

Whether on the ground or in the c-suite, WFM remains on the frontline: responding to wider changes, driving improvements and a key part of delivering organisational outcomes. However, this reality may not be clear to professionals as they embark on and progress in their career. At IWFM, we see our organisation as a business enabler, and in partnership with organisations across the world of work, we optimise the profession’s impact. A good first step is to engage: expand recruitment campaigns, unlock learning and development opportunities, encourage mentorship and networking. Spread the word. Organisations need workplace and facilities management, and the profession needs you.


Recruitment continues to be a prevalent challenge for most businesses in the facilities management space. Back in 2008, during the ‘credit crunch’, companies were up against the wall. They had no choice but to reduce their headcount. Many people ended up out of work, with employers ultimately able to have their pick of the available talent pool. Now, that dynamic has flipped on its head. Instead, the industry can’t find enough people to do the jobs that need to be filled, with the competition for talent now rife as skills shortages continue to heighten.

The pressing challenge of the skills gap in UK engineering demands a paradigm shift in our recruitment strategies. It’s time to break free from the shackles of traditional hiring methods and embrace the untapped potential of skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds. At DMA Group, we’ve taken a bold step towards this change with our apprenticeship scheme.

Gen Z is drawn to businesses that champion technological advancements. Our guided development model goes beyond merely fostering trade careers; it delves into the personal growth of our apprentices, exposing them to diverse functions within our organisation. This strategic move not only nurtures their technical skills but also broadens their horizons, creating a workforce that is not only proficient but versatile.

New starters can already take inspiration that 70 per cent of our current senior leadership team followed a trade-based apprenticeship. These experiences are deeply embedded with each person because they participated in a well-structured programme over three or four years – we will be seeking to develop a skills development programme that creates real life chances for real people.

However, the success of our apprenticeship scheme homegrown platform BiO is not just about technological innovation; it’s a testament to the belief that investing in people is an investment in the future. We’re not merely filling roles; we’re cultivating a workforce that thrives in an era defined by rapid technological advancements.

We hope that the symbiosis of our apprenticeship program and BiO® is a beacon for the industry, showcasing the potential of embracing new technologies to bridge the skills gap. By doing so, we’re not only future-proofing our business but also contributing to the cultivation of a skilled and adaptable workforce. It’s a call to action for the entire FM sector – a plea to rethink recruitment strategies, invest in the development of talent, and champion the technologies that will define the future.

The future belongs to those who dare to break the mould and invest in the untapped potential of a diverse and skilled workforce. It’s time for FM to step into the future. 

About Sarah OBeirne

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