Many facilities management departments across both the public and private sectors are increasing spend after last year’s cost cutting. We expect to see more spending and employment in the coming year with many education refurbishments planned along with some new and unusual projects such as Australia’s first high rise schools.
Some major FM contracts have recently changed hands, which is creating candidate movement at Tier 1 employers across all levels of roles.
We have also seen an increase in the number of permanent roles as opposed to temporary. When they recruit, employers are focused on the trainability and personal attitude of candidates as opposed to particular experience.
In soft services the number of high calibre candidates has decreased over recent months in response to growing vacancy activity, particularly for Service Coordinators. Thus the top candidates are in roles or can quickly find a new role.
In localised trends, facilities management vacancies typically increase between April and September every year in the Northern Territory. This is the result of a large amount of construction activity, especially on the Inpex oil and gas site, as well as the annual defence project which this year saw 2,000 US Marines arrive in the Northern Territory for six-months. Most facilities soft service jobs are on a casual basis, with the temporary-to-permanent option also used.
Hotspots of demand
Residential Building Managers are required for high-rise residential developments. Demand exists for both permanent candidates as well as temporary candidates for holiday cover.
Facilities Coordinators are also sought. Interestingly, companies are now willing to train candidates, which is a positive step and good for the career development of FM professionals.
Work Supervisors are sought in the public sector.
Groundsmen/women are required for local councils, while trained Horticulture candidates are also needed for roles that are becoming available.
Most regions in Australia are facing a shortage of Chefs, which is why they are listed on the Government’s Skilled Occupation List. In particular demand are Chefs with a bulk catering background.
Utility candidates are also sought. These roles operate at a fast pace and are physically demanding. They also involve long hours. Consequently candidates often only commit to the role for a short period of time.
Cleaners are another area of need, since the hours of work are not always ideal for many candidates.
Scheduling Tradespeople/Service Coordinators are needed too. An increase in construction and facilities has created the need for individuals to coordinate technicians and trades to accommodate more maintenance issues.
Customer service professionals are also sought to help attract and retain clients. Candidates must be personable.
Finally, technology use is at an all time high. Therefore employers need individuals who are able to use their in-house systems or can pick them up quickly to ensure efficiency and speed of response.
When they look for a new role, FM candidates want to work for an organisation with a strong culture and team environment where they can progress long-term. They are looking to the future and are willing to take a lower-level position if there is the prospect of developing within the role or company.