Facilities management (FM) is a growing field that concerns coordination of space, people, organizations and infrastructure so that it is used in the most efficient and economical ways that lead to the fulfillment of organizational goals. FM consists of activities that go well beyond business services and typically include these areas:
- Emergency preparedness
- Environmental stewardship
- Finance and business
- Human factors
- Leadership and business strategy
- Operations and management
- Quality assurance
- Property management
Effective facilities management operates at both the strategic/tactical and operational levels. In the strategy and tactical sense, clients and customers need to be properly informed about the possible impact of how decisions affect services, space, cost and risks to business. At the operational level, it is the job of the facilities management professional to ensure complete regulatory and corporate compliance, as well as the safe and proper operation of all aspects of a facility to ensure that it is used in a safe and cost effective manner.
What Is Facilities Management?
A facilities management professional will usually focus on the completion of these duties:
- Health and safety: Controlling multiple safety issues is a core responsibility of a good facilities manager. Without health and safety assured in a facility, there can be injury, loss of business, insurance claims and even prosecution.
- Fire safety: The risk of fire is one that carries the highest chance of damage, property loss and loss of life. The danger of fire also poses a serious risk to the vitality of the business. The facilities manager has a high responsibility to regularly maintain, inspect and test fire safety systems and equipment, and to keep full records of inspections and compliance.
- Security: This is necessary to ensure that the people and assets of the business are safe. Ensuring the safety of hardware is also part of this responsibility.
- Testing, operations and maintenance: Regular schedules for maintenance, testing and inspections are needed to make sure that the facility is being operated efficiently and safely. This reduces the chance of failure and maximizes the life of expensive equipment.
- Cleaning: All facilities must be cleaned on a regular basis; this includes the cleaning and maintenance of any important equipment.
- Operations: The day-to-day efficient operation of the facility is especially important. Some operations issues involve more than just the regular maintenance of systems and equipment. Some operational processes can hamper or stop the business from operating or may have serious safety implications.
There is a growing demand for effective facilities management and administrative services management in various industries across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job demand for facilities managers and administrative services managers will grow by 10% by 2026. This is faster than average when compared to other occupations. It is expected that facility management, administrative management and records/information management will continue to be more important in many industries.
One of the reasons for job growth is that there is a growing emphasis on the environmental impact that buildings have in the country. It also is expected that a focus on increasing energy efficiency will make facilities managers and related professionals in higher demand. Good facilities managers also will be needed to oversee improvements in heating and air conditioning, roofing and other areas that will help to improve efficiency. These professionals also are needed to provide up to date plans for natural disasters and to ensure that any damages to buildings will be minor.
Further, smart building technology will definitely lead to more need for good facilities managers in coming years. This new technology will give managers more detailed and timely information so that they know when they need to perform maintenance.
On a related note, there will be more need for records and information managers, with the most need for workers in information governance. This includes the legal and privacy related aspects of records management by facilities managers.
Administrative and facilities managers held nearly 282,000 jobs in 2016. The biggest employer of administrative service managers and facilities managers were in these industries:
- Educational services: 13%
- Healthcare and social services: 13%
- Professional, scientific and technical services: 9%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Local government: 7%
The median annual pay for all administrative services managers was $90,050 in 2016. The top 10% earned above $159,000 per year. Median annual wages for this profession were as follows for various industries:
- Finance and insurance: $100,200
- Professional, technical and scientific services: $97,800
- Local government: $91,300
- Educational services: $86,800
- Healthcare and social assistance: $83,800
Also, facilities managers with the terms ‘director’ or ‘vice president’ in their title earn the highest salary. These positions may include such jobs as VP/director of facilities, and the salary can be in the range of $113,000 per year. Facility managers or property managers or similar titles earn a median salary of $80,700.
There is demand for facilities management professionals in most industries. Some of the top employers of facilities managers today are:
- Sodexo: This is a facility management and food services company that serves various industries across the world. The company has at least 75 million people served every day.
- Compass Group: This is a global leader in facilities management support and food services. The part of the company that serves schools serves 2 million students per day. At least ⅓ of the top business schools in Europe do business with this company.
- Aramark: This company maintains 1 billion square feet of facilities across the world in many industries.
- ISS/A/S: This facility management system serves three million work orders each year, and offers services in facility management, cleaning services, catering, property and support.
A bachelor’s degree program in facilities management includes courses in project management, facility management, economics, business, property development and HVAC systems.
A master’s program in facilities management is a good option for those who want to work as directors or vice presidents of facilities management or related positions. This type of graduate degree will cover courses such as project management, real estate, space planning, and quantity assessment
To be admitted into a master’s program in facilities management, you can expect to need a 3.0 GPA in many cases, GRE or GMAT scores unless a waiver is available, two or three professional references, a resume, and writing samples.
Typical courses in a master’s level program in FM includes:
- Project management applications
- Executive leadership
- Business finance and investments
- Strategic financial decision making
- Contemporary issues managing tech
- Communication strategies
- Facility operations
- Energy and sustainability
- Facility management thesis
- Quantitative methods
It is possible to obtain financial assistance to get your degree in facilities management. Below are some scholarships that are available in facilities management and related fields:
- IFMA Scholarship: Various amounts
- Catholic University of America Scholarship: Various amounts
- Cappex Business Majors Scholarship: $1000
- NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award: Various amounts
- John L. Carey Scholarship Program: Various amounts
- NSHMBA Foundation Scholarship Program: $10,000
- Robert J. Yourzak Scholarship Award: $2000
The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers the following certification programs that can provide you with a major career boost:
- Certified Facility Manager (CFM)
- Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP)
- Certified Facility Manager (CFM)
The major association to consider in this field is the International Facility Management Association. This is the leading association to guide and develop facility management professionals by offering services, products, opportunities and resources. It certifies FMs, does research, offers educational programs and certifies facility management degree programs.
Facilities management is a good option for people who want to work in a growing field with a higher focus on technology for years to come.
- Top 5 Facility Management Jobs. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.buildings.com/news/industry-news/articleid/15284/title/top-5-facility-management-jobs/viewall/true
- Administrative Services Managers. (2015, Dec. 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/administrative-services-managers.htm#tab-5