More Aging Workforce Challenges

Get ready to welcome one more entrant to the annual competition for college graduates. The facilities management field is yet another profession facing challenges from an aging workforce and a lack of interest from new college graduates, so its industry association is stepping up efforts to lure new grads. Based upon the earning potential, the profession just may succeed in grabbing interest from students.

A recent survey completed by Building Operating Management, in partnership with the International Facility Management Association, reveals that the average salary for facility managers has increased nearly 13% from $56,000 in 2004 to $63,000 in 2007. At the same time, the average age of the survey respondents has steadily increased from 43 to 48 since the first survey was taken in 1989. Degrees and professional certification drive the average wage up further. The current survey shows that the average wages for certified facility managers, with a master’s degree or higher, were $96,750 and certified employees with a bachelor’s degree were earning an average base salary of $82,000.

“We’re not seeing as many people enter the profession,” says Shari Epstein, associate director of research for IFMA. “In the past, people sort of stumbled onto the profession; it really wasn’t a career choice. Facility managers often migrated from architecture or the construction industry to fill the jobs. The complexity of the job is increasing, and we require candidates for Certified Facility Manager certification to have a bachelor’s degree, so we’re increasing our efforts to reach more students. Currently, there are about 20 institutions offering the major in North America; we’re working to get that number increased.”

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 508,000 facility management positions by 2012, up from 390,000 in 2002. Given both the growth of the profession and the openings created by retiring workers, expect to see wages continue to rise, offering students a lucrative career option and increasing the competition for recent grads.

Leslie Stevens writes for human capital and business publications. She was a senior manager in the staffing industry for more than 20 years and understands how talent acquisition contributes to the bottom line. She likes it when readers share their opinions, innovative ideas, and experiences about overcoming obstacles while fighting the global talent war.

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