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Professionalising FM – a career option of choice FM Briefing No.17

15 October 2010

With relevant experience or qualifications, people working within FM can now start on path of professional development that could lead them to Chartered status. The RICS has launched a campaign to promote this option

What does an FM professional look like? If you ask five people within the industry, you’ll get five different answers. The truth is that an industry covering so many roles and disciplines will always be a challenge to define.
But whether the FM professional is influencing corporate real estate strategy at board level or overseeing the complex delivery of day-to-day facilities operation, there is one factor that unites the industry – a need to increase the perceived value of the FM role in a wider corporate context.
Perhaps this long debated issue has come about due to the way the industry has evolved, arising simultaneously from a variety of related sectors including construction, property and building services management, each with their own set of responsibilities and unique competencies.
What the industry can say with confidence is that its people offer their employers an unrivalled mixture of skills and experience on both a tactical and strategic level. Pulling this varied offer together as a coherent and understandable professional package is one significant way in which we can start to improve how our industry is perceived.
This will also help encourage the new entrants that will help shape the next generation of FM professionals – entrants that see the industry as a defined career choice from the start and not one they find themselves in having already pursued another path.
RICS is in a good position to help lead this debate. It already has around 12,000 UK professionals among its membership who list facilities management as their primary or secondary discipline. The position of Chartered Facilities Management Surveyor is recognised as the most respected qualification that can be achieved by strategic FM professionals all over the world, while the RICS’ White Book provides a definitive guide to best practice facilities management processes.
More recently, RICS has taken steps to improve the support it offers to the industry by extending its associate membership grade to include those working in FM. This means anybody with relevant experience or qualifications working within FM can now start
on path of professional development that could lead them to Chartered status - a highly respected and internationally recognised professional qualification.
Being awarded Chartered status undoubtedly goes a long way to seeing the FM professional take their seat at the board room table - but achieving this accolade is not in itself a complete solution to the issues the industry faces. What else does the industry need to do to ensure its offer is properly understood and valued by our fellow professionals? How can we portray the industry as a career option of choice? And what can bodies such as the RICS do to help?
To find some answers to these questions, RICS has launched a new campaign called Professionalising FM which it hopes will help the industry to take a look at the issues involved and better understand the range of qualifications and accreditations which help FM professionals increase their value in a corporate context.
And in an effort to better understand the industry’s views on this important subject, RICS is running an online survey which FM professionals can use to make their views known. The survey can be accessed at www.rics.org/fmsurvey. Once collated, the results of the survey will be published on a new section of the RICS website, which has been created to provide the industry with ongoing information and updates:
www.rics.org/professionalisingfm


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