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Invest to retain your FM staff

20 April 2011

PFM's latest salary survey published with Hays FM has found that half of FMs surveyed had no pay rise last year and over a third said they will change their job this year. Employers need to think of other ways to retain their talent, says Hays FM

AS EMPLOYERS IN THE FM SECTOR face the challenges of recovery, Hays Facilities Management, the leading recruiting expert, provides insight into the priorities of talented jobseekers in its fifth annual salary survey.

Karen Nodwell, operational director for Hays Facilities Management, comments: "On the whole the industry is faring quite well with signs of confidence picking up as salaries are on the increase, recruitment opportunities are more readily available and the private sector is showing some signs of a slow recovery. But many employees still haven’t had a pay increase, highlighting that employers are still erring on the side of caution. Where pay increases aren’t an option, employers are getting creative with benefits packages – considering other ways to retain talent and add value."

She continues, "Work-life balance appears to be an issue for employees, with many saying it has worsened over the past year. It’s important that employers consider how to address this issue, or they potentially face risking an exodus of talent.

Attracting talent to the industry still remains a key concern, with a need for a greater general understanding of what a career in facilities management entails."

Salaries for FM professionals are finally on the move again. Employers are more prepared to negotiate offers upwards to secure top talent and greater creativity is being deployed when tailoring remuneration packages.

Almost a third (29 per cent) of candidates that Hays surveyed received a pay increase last year that was in line with their expectations, with eight percent saying they received more than they anticipated. However, almost half (47 per cent) say they have not had a salary rise at all over the last year. Looking ahead, expectations are divided with an optimistic 44 per cent of FM professionals expecting to see their earnings increase in the coming year but half (50 per cent) not expecting any increase.

More than seven in 10 (71 per cent) candidates say they’re under more pressure at work than they were a year ago, reporting that while workloads have increased pay has not kept pace. Despite this, most employees in facilities management describe their salary rates as average (48 per cent) or competitive (38 per cent) – showing general satisfaction with pay. Almost four in 10 (38 per cent) say they’ll change job this year, with nearly a quarter (23 per cent) declaring their intent to stay put.

"We predict that pay rises will climb faster later on in the year," says Alex Cooper, manager at Hays Facilities Management. "Many organisations are already being more creative with incentives and reward schemes as part of initiatives to bolster retention strategies. But unless take-home pay is increased in-line with inflation, they may lose their best people, especially as many employers are now offering competitive rates when recruiting new hires."

While many salaries remained somewhat static in London and the South East, more employers are building incentives into pay and reward schemes, with bonus calculations (some as much as 20 per cent of basic salary) based on various permutations of contract, team and corporate performance. People with demonstrable sales and bid experience in the region are also being presented with higher offers when changing jobs, although most organisations want hard evidence of having generated sustained revenue streams.

Some heads of FM in London are being awarded rises of two per cent or more, while those with experience of working in environments of major change are increasingly being made offers above the market rate for their region.

Development and regeneration work in East London around the Olympics site will continue to create new opportunities, perhaps tempting more people to relocate from elsewhere in the UK.

In the North West, the financial services sector is picking up, with regional hubs, contact centres and shared service centres fuelling demand. The imminent relocation of some of the BBC’s operations to Salford may also have a knock-on effect on service businesses moving to or within the area, and requiring FM support. In the North West and Scotland, a number of roles becoming available in the public sector are being offered on a fixed-term basis, with interim FMs in demand to help manage real estate in periods of transition (or off-loading).

Pay squeezed

Pay rates have been largely squeezed in the North East, while in the Midlands widespread redundancies have prompted many candidates to lower their expectations; typical pay for facilities consultants in the region has fallen by nine per cent. But in Northern Ireland, demand is greatest for facilities assistants, with typical pay rises of three per cent (only their peers in central London report higher increases).

The trend towards wider adoption of flexible working arrangements in British industry is finding its way through to FM; around half (51 per cent) of our survey say they have the opportunity to work flexible hours or occasionally work from home, an option that more than one in 10 (14 per cent) say is important when changing jobs.

Meanwhile, 16 per cent get paid overtime and a third (33 per cent) get time of in lieu if they have to work longer than contracted hours.

"Benefits are an important consideration for many that are moving job,’ says Coleen Cloherty, regional director at Hays Facilities Management. "Some 43 per cent of respondents said that benefits became even more important over the last year – with pay and headcount freezes and restricted cash flow, many employers have had to consider more cost-effective benefits to retain their best people. Flexible working hours or homeworking needn’t cost much and it is a benefit that employees would be reluctant to give up if thinking of moving company."

Career development

Across the country site services managers, FMs, with property experience, and those with business development and commercial skills are all in demand. But employers will still hold out for the right person, with FM qualifications such as BIFM being an absolute must for many. A heightened focus on health and safety means NEBOSH and IOSH certificates are mostly required too.

Hays’ Karen Nodwell commented: "We are also seeing a trend of candidates self-funding studies for professional qualifications, as they recognise the positive impact it can have on their employment marketability and career."

Looking ahead, public sector FM recruitment is likely to slow as spending cuts continue to take effect. However as confidence picks up, opportunities are arising in the private sector with growth amongst banks, financial services companies, professional services and law firms filtering through to the job market.

Job satisfaction

Almost seven in 10 (67 per cent) candidates say that interesting and engaging work is a top priority when considering a job offer, while nearly three in five (59 per cent) would move for a higher salary.

Half of respondents (50 per cent) say that their daily commute would influence their decision to accept an offer, while nearly four in ten (38 percent) say that flexible hours is a priority, indicating the importance of work-life balance. Less than half (47 per cent) candidates surveyed said they would recommend their current employer to a friend, with a quarter (25 per cent) saying that they wouldn’t at all. And only a quarter (25 per cent) say that they have a good work-life balance, while nearly a fifth (19 per cent) describe their work-life balance as ‘bad’, and almost half (49 per cent) say it has worsened in the last year.


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