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Latest study shows FM is 'proceeding with caution'

21 April 2016

Results from the latest FM Business Confidence Monitor 2016 survey show a positive outlook for the industry, although external factors continue to cause concern.

Conducted by BIFM, the study revealed that 64% of respondents described the FM business environment as 'positive' or 'very positive'.

Although this was a 6% reduction on last year's result, this was mainly due to external factors such as the forthcoming EU referendum, changes to government funding and the economy in general.

With 38% stating they are confident about their individual business, a further 30% said they were more confident in achieving economic growth and performance over the next 12 months compared to last year.

BIFM stated that with the FM sector estimated to be worth around £111bn per annum to the UK economy and employing approximately 10% of the UK working population, the study is a barometer for business performance as a whole.

The survey also asked for respondents' opinion on the apprenticeship levy and 48% said they were unsure this would see more apprentices within their company.

While 47% said they would hire more apprentices in 2015, this figure has fallen to 35% this year.

BIFM said that the findings of its research suggests a "disconnect between rhetoric and ambition" over the importance of funding training initiatives.

Chief executive James Sutton said the survey showed the sector was "relatively buoyant" and "proceeding with caution" while considering the EU Referendum and Apprenticeship Levy.

Regarding the latter, Mr Sutton said there seems to be "limited understanding" of the opportunities and implications for apprenticeships.

"When used correctly, apprenticeships have the ability to benefit people, organisations and the workforce and therefore society as a whole.

"As an institute we will be doing more to help support this agenda over the coming months as part of our commitment to raise FM professional standards.

"We will continue to work with government, key stakeholders and employers so that we can embrace the opportunities that the Apprenticeship Levy offers."

Barclays Business Services relationship director Terry Myatt, whose company was a partner in the survey, said it was "proud to work with the BIFM".

"The cautious optimism displayed by the FM sector in this year’s survey results is understandable given the range of uncertainties facing the industry in the short term," he continued.

"However, there are still growth opportunities for those businesses with a clear strategy and who are able to adapt at speed to the changing economic and regulatory environment.”

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