The facilities management industry is approaching the edge of a massive cliff. As its workforce gets older and retirement is around the corner, facilities management professionals are looking down a sharp drop-off in fresh talent.
JLL reported that facilities management professionals are on average older than the general working population, averaging 49 years compared to 43 years in other professions. The president of consulting firm The Friday Group, Stormy Friday, told FacilitiesNet that she expects up to 60% of facilities management workers will leave the industry in the next five to seven years.
Figuring out how to appeal to millennials, or those ages 18-34, to facilities management careers is key to securing the growth of the industry. A Pew Research Center study found that more than 1 in 3 workers in the U.S. today are millennials, and that this year they overtook Generation X to become the largest share of the workforce.
The cliff might look steep now, but just across the chasm is a more viable, tech-savvy and environmentally friendly future for facilities management.
Developing Industry Awareness
For more millennials to join the workforce, they have to be aware of the dynamic career paths facilities management offers. In a JLL survey of more than 200 college students conducted last year, 43% of students knew of facilities management as an industry, and only 1% of students thought they would choose a career in the field. In addition, almost half of the students surveyed were seeking degrees that are essential study areas for careers in facilities management such as science, technology, engineering or mathematics-related fields. There's a growing pool of STEM students nationwide, too: A National Student Clearinghouse report found that 40% of bachelor's degrees achieved by men and 29% achieved by women are in STEM fields. With the right attitude and the right skills, these graduates can become valuable leaders in the facilities management industry.
It's important for facilities management professionals to understand the unique talents that millennials can bring to positions in the industry. One important strength is their familiarity with technology. Millennials have grown up using complex, ever-changing technology, and, according to a PwC study, they are the first generation to go into the workplace with a stronger understanding of essential business software and tools than most senior workers. They're also eager to learn new systems, and are 2.5 times more likely than older workers to be early adopters of new technology, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
A second strength is their eco-consciousness. A study by GPI found that millennials are more concerned about the environment than any other age group, and that more than 80% of them believe being eco-conscious improves their quality of life. Many millennials are well-versed in issues of sustainability, especially as it relates to workplace environments and apartment buildings and alternative energy sources.
Together, these strengths will benefit the facilities management industry by helping it adapt to the changing needs of society and daily life. By recognizing these strengths and developing them further through training programs, the facilities management industry will evolve.
Answering To Millennial Work Preferences
Millennials have workplace and lifestyle preferences that set them apart from previous generations. According to FacilitiesNet they want positions that have opportunities for advancement, mentorship and personal growth. They also want to understand ahead of time, as much as possible, the exact tasks and duties that will be expected of them, and prefer jobs that have wellness and personal benefits, like gym facilities or child care. Facilities management professionals that recognize and respond to these preferences will attract greater numbers of young talent and ensure their buildings see a bright and relevant future.
This article was originally posted on facilitydude.com
Written by Kate Donnelly