Debunking 3 top myths in facilities management

Gone are the days of facility management practitioners flying under the radar, unseen and unsociable compared to other roles within the sector. Today, the perception versus reality presents a very different picture, and practitioners are taking up diverse roles all the way to the C-suites.

Words by Annie Reid

In fact, current research shows that popular stereotypes within the FM industry are on the way out and in their place fresh, new thinking courtesy of a rising demographic of value-adding workplace professionals keen to turn convention upside down.

The good news is this is positive news that the industry is changing. FM is shedding its stuffy and stagnant reputation and getting a professional makeover and there are plenty of opportunities for those ready to step up to the plate.

Myth: Only men work in FM

Wrong. According to the Facilities Management Industry Census, published by the Facility Management Association of Australia (FMA), female practitioners now make up 28 per cent of the workforce, representing an increase from 19 per cent in 2012-2013 and 22 per cent from last year. In its whole history, the census has identified the largest improvement in gender diversity ever.

The census also noted that as FM transitions from a vocation to a profession with stakeholder relationships at its core, women are successfully leading in that space and the image of the older white male practitioner continues to be challenged.

Myth: No young people are interested in FM

Wrong again. The FM industry is getting younger according to the census. Gone are the days of the older white male practitioner; these days 37.7 per cent are under 40 years of age.

The overall breakdown between different age groups has become more even over time, and the industry is making efforts to become more diverse in age as the workforce population ages dramatically in Australia.

With more Baby Boomers continuing to retire at a rapid pace, taking their expertise with them, there’s greater pressure for a younger generation to rise to replace them.

And whether it’s a reflection of the increase of technology as a stimulant, or the perception of the industry as a professional vehicle to a C-suite role, the appeal to a younger demographic must continue.

Myth: There are fewer educational opportunities today

Another popular myth is that facility managers can seem to follow their own rules, and that they don’t listen.

But this is far from the truth. Facility managers are highly efficient, organised and the greatest gatekeeper to property and organisational budgets. Today, that involves greater emphasis on education and practitioners are experiencing greater levels of education this year, supported by excellent opportunities with advances in technology.

The census reported that despite the slowdown last year, trends indicate greater levels of education for FM practitioners this year, where a Diploma in Facilities Management is considered the most suitable form of education required to become a practitioner.

Accordingly, 30.5 per cent of practitioners have a diploma.

And that focus on higher education is helping to lift the professionalism of the entire industry – for all involved.

About the Author: Annie Reid

Annie Reid is a qualified journalist, professional copywriter and published author with a passion for everything bricks and mortar. For many years, she’s written thousand of stories for newspapers, magazines and clients around the world. Somewhere between the heady buzz of headlines and deadlines, she discovered a niche for creating tailor made content for the property, real estate, architecture and design industries. Annie holds a Bachelor of Arts and is currently studying a Masters in Publishing and Communications, both from the University of Melbourne.

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