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EXCLUSIVE ISS's Sykes: FM industry is stronger with one voice

17 April 2013

With hard-hitting, incisive insights, the ISS CEO Richard Sykes recently addressed a Barclays dinner, jointly hosted with Grant Thornton and Barclays. The full version of this article will appear in the May edition of PFM magazine

Richard Sykes, CEO of ISS, spoke with refreshing insight at the dinner, held at Barclays HQ in Canary Wharf. He delivered a few home truths that need to be expressed more often and more publicly, pointing out the differences between hard and soft services.

''Historically hard services has been male-dominated because of its technical element so their image can come across as quite rough and tough, and because of that people think they're quite risk averse. That perception means some see the move from hard to soft services as an easy bridge, but actually I think it's more difficult.''

Sykes said the FM industry would be stronger if it spoke with one ''clear, consolidated'' voice.

''There are several organisations in the sector to whom we pay fees, yet nobody speaks with one voice on our behalf. At some point there needs to be consolidation. And I think we have a strong sector - we provide about 10% of GDP, and we employ 11% of the working population - 3.5 million people - so I think we can do a huge amount to help UK PLC understand how employable we are.''

Sykes also spoke about the competitive landscape and the success of the FM industry during the Olympics. ''The legacy of the Olympics is that, as a nation, people thought we were extremely happy-go-lucky because of the attitude of the volunteers. That gave everybody the feel-good factor. And the reason is each volunteer was recruited for his or her attitude, not for a skill.''

* The full version of this article - including all Sykes' comments and opinions will be published exclusively in the May print edition of PFM magazine.


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