Investigating the Facility Management Professional Shortage

Topics: Facility management, International Facility Management Association, Higher education Pages: 10 (3040 words) Published: October 27, 2013
Vol.4, No.3 – October 2013

Investigating the Facility Management Professional Shortage
Roscoe Hightower, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of Marketing
School of Business and Industry
Florida A&M University
Tallahassee, FL 32307
roscoe.hightower@famu.edu
and
James Highsmith
MBA Candidate
School of Business and Industry
Florida A&M University
Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this manuscript is to investigate the importance of creating a collegiate educational program that focuses on attracting and training a new generation of Facility Management professionals. The sustainability of businesses and organizations in today’s global economy relies on Facility Management professionals with advanced business knowledge and technical skills (Hightower, 2013). Every year fewer and fewer college students are choosing the Facility Management career path resulting in a lack of qualified personnel to fill the growing number of Facility Management job positions that are opening yearly. Two major reasons behind the qualified candidate shortage is; the lack of exposure to the profession as well as the discrepancy that exists between the skills needed by the employers and the skills that are taught in college. Educators maintain that their role is not to teach specific skills, but provide students with fundamental knowledge. As of 2013 there are relatively few International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Accredited Degree Programs (ADP). American businesses (i.e., especially multi-national corporations MNCs) are at risk when one considers that Facility Managers play a huge role in MNC operations and overall profitability. Design / Methodology / Approach: A convenience sample of MNCs, FM professionals, Educators responded to a number of items via an online questionnaire.

Findings: The initial findings indicate initial support for the hypotheses that 1) companies will be more profitable if there are more IFMA ADPs producing FM professionals, 2) IFMA ADPs that have a recruiting pipeline that includes primary, middle, and high schools produce more FM graduates than those that do not have primary, middle, and high school contacts, 3) IFMA ADPs that actively engage in publishing FM research produce more FM professionals than those that do not engage in publishing FM research.

Originality / Value: Identifies: 1) the need for practitioners to partner with colleges to increase the number of FM professionals produced, and 2) identification of a FM recruiting pipeline. Keywords: Facility Manager Employment, Recruiting, Facility Management Education, Accredited Degree Programs INTRODUCTION

“Of the 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in academic year 2010-11, almost one-third were concentrated in two fields: business (21 percent) and social sciences and history (10 percent). Five other fields each accounted for 5 percent or more of all bachelor’s degrees awarded. These were health professions and related programs, education, psychology, visual and performing arts, and biological and biomedical sciences. These are the same seven fields in which the largest numbers of bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 2000-01.” (National Center for Education Statistics 2012)

Some individuals may think that the Facilities Management (FM) profession is taking a major hit. Not because the need for Facilities Managers is declining; in the fact the need for proficient Facilities Managers is growing rapidly each year. One of the potential hits in the industry apparently stems from the declining number of students graduating with a FM accredited degree. Each year more and more positions are opening up for this profession, but there is a worldwide shortage of young qualified entry-level professionals to place in these jobs. Many multi-national corporations’ (MNCs) executives suggest that something must be done soon to increase the number of qualified professionals to enter the industry.

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