FACILITIES MANAGEMENT JOURNAL JOBS
FM CAREERS - CAREER LADDER
FM is known to be a career that people fall into
from other sectors. In this regular column, FMJ
chats to a facilities professional about how they
got into the sector and takes a look at their
career path. This month we talk to Sophie Sibley,
Environment and Energy Data Analyst at SPIE UK.
Name: Sophie Sibley
Environment and Energy
How did you progress through
the profession to your current role?
I actually started out at SPIE in a
temp role a er I finished University.
During that period, I made sure I spoke
with various people in the organisation
to get a better understanding of the
industry and what opportunities
might be available to me. That is
when I met George Adams, SPIE UK’s
Director of Energy and Engineering. I
was lucky enough for him to spot my
enthusiasm and knowledge of the
environment and energy sector and
he subsequently gave me a job in his
Do you have any qualifications
or training in FM and related areas
such as health and safety? And how
have you benefited from them?
I have a BSc in Environmental Sciences
from the University of East Anglia.
I have also been fortunate to take
various courses through SPIE, such as
low carbon consultancy training.
What is your greatest
contribution to the FM sector, or
your current role?
Currently, I look at environmental
regulations and how this will
a ect projects. I also work with
my colleagues to carry out energy
management on sites and produce
reports such as ESOS and SECR.
What do you enjoy most about
working in FM?
My job is incredibly varied from dayto
day, and as SPIE is an engineering
business that provides many other
services in addition to FM, it keeps me
on my toes! I also have to keep on top
of the latest legislation, which is very
Do you have future projects or
career goals in mind?
I’d like to progress my knowledge in
the environmental area and how this
will a ect businesses in the future.
What personal qualities do
you think are most needed for a
successful career in FM?
You’ve got to be able to think outside
the box because o en one solution
will not easily fit another client.
You’ve got to be eager to learn as
the industry is always changing with
new technologies being introduced.
Therefore, taking a forward-thinking
approach can help provide customers
with the best and most appropriate
solution, as well as taking into account
their environmental requirements too.
What do you think would make
the biggest di erence to the FM
In terms of getting more women into
the sector, accessibility needs to
change. In my experience there is little
wrong with the education level. STEM
should be viewed as a normal career
path for women but there are still
many stereotypes and unconscious
biases that act as barriers. We need to
keep highlighting the fact that there
are successful women in the industry,
so women remain engaged. While
my role is very varied, the FM sector
can be very male dominated. To help
create a more equal environment, I
think women need to be integrated
throughout the male cohort.
Are you a member of any FM
association or body and if so what
benefits do you think they provide?
Not yet, but I’m working towards it! I
think professional bodies have many
benefits, in particular, they facilitate
conversations with people that work
across the industry, which in turn
provides an additional opportunity
to learn. You also get a range of
perspectives on the most pressing
topics facing our customers and the
industry, which helps me impart better
What advice would you give
to someone coming into the
I suggest joining a professional body
and attending relevant events. Not
only does this give you the opportunity
to learn from others but helps you to
start having discussions with the right
people in the industry who might end
up being a mentor further down the
What are the greatest challenges
of working in FM?
I think the greatest challenge in FM, is
also what makes it more rewarding, in
that no project is the same.
What do you predict could be
the main changes to the FM sector
over the next few years?
I think the environmental impacts
we will face in the future will be the
main challenge. Right now, we can
only estimate the regulations the
government will put in place, so it is
getting your business ready for those
changes now that is key.
According to a recent report from
City & Guilds, gender divides still
exist surrounding the types of job
roles that men and women do. The
research found that women were
four times more likely to work as
a carer than men, and three times
more likely to work as a shop
assistant. Whilst men were six times
more likely to work as an engineer
and three times more likely to be
working as a so ware developer
or computer programmer. This
suggests that there is much more
work needed to divert women
towards the STEM sector and into
better paid careers generally.
Allied to this, the RICS
Construction and Infrastructure
Market Survey, found that 66 per
cent of respondents in the UK
reported shortages of quantity
surveyors and 54 per cent said
that they were seeing shortages of
other construction professionals.
In an e ort to encourage more
diverse groups of pupils to look at
taking STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics)
subjects the Institute launched its
These flagship programmes
are intended to promote the
surveying profession to secondary
level students. RICS members are
being asked to volunteer as Inspire
Ambassadors o ering pupils a
wide pool of access and input
from RICS professionals, trainees
and apprentices. The Inspire
Ambassadors receive STEM training,
are able to count volunteering as
informal CPD and be able to take
part in all Future Talent activities.
For more information visit:
Would you, or someone you know, like to be featured in our career ladder column? If you’re an operational
FM with more than 10 years’ experience in the sector, then email email@example.com
50 APRIL 2020