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16 January 2019
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We detail findings from the 2017 Pay & Prospects survey conducted by the BIFM, and we speak to the emerging generation of young FMs about how they want to see the profession develop.


8 January 2018 | FM TEAM

The 2017 BIFM Pay and Prospects Survey is the thirteenth of its kind. it provides a snapshot of salaries, benefits, training and qualifications and informs further research and product development..

More than 500 people took part in the 2017 survey, which among other trends indicates a link between BIFM qualifications and career prospects. 

About a quarter of participants were studying for a BIFM qualification at the time of completing the survey, and those with BIFM qualifications indicate that such credentials have made them more confident in their role.

BIFM membership at Member or Certified levels is a further indicator of progress, with participants at these membership grades more likely than average to earn above £46,000 and to have done more to expand their professional network.

Respondents at Member or Certified BIFM levels are also more likely than the average to report an increase of 3-4 per cent at their last pay review, and slightly more likely to expect an increase in future. And the higher the membership level, the greater the value of their last bonus.

Salary levels have always been an FM’s greatest concern, and this fresh data does nothing to alter that. FMs are also keen on working for organisa-tions that offer strong career progression opportunities, and the absence of same is the most cited reason for FM professionals deciding to look elsewhere for employment - a frustration that appears to be growing.

But as much as the survey’s results paint a picture of the profession’s current state, there’s no question that a shift in FM’s demographics is taking place. 

We took publication of this year’s Pay & Prospects data as an opportune time to ask younger FMs about how they see the FM profession developing in the years ahead. Their answers, and key pay & prospects survey findings, appear over the following pages.

Salary levels and expectations

58% of participants cited salary as the most important factor, with ‘challenging / interesting work’ next most important to them at 41%

26% (a quarter) of respondents reported their salary falling within the £36,000-£45,000 band - slightly up on 2016 (24%)

70% reported their salary as being between £26,000 and £60,000

- There has been some fluctuation in the proportion of respondents in the ‘up to £25,000’ band, with 11 per cent citing this banding in 2017 compared with 8 per cent in 2016, and 18 per cent in 2015.

- More than 50 per cent reported that their last pay review resulted in an increase of between 1 per cent and 2 per cent, indicating a steady rise in the number of people receiving such pay awards over the past three years.

- There has, however, been a decline in the proportion of respondents reporting an increase of 3-4 per cent. That’s gone from 19 per cent in 2016 to 14 per cent in 2017.

- There has also been an increase in the proportion of respondents reporting no change in their salary –  19 per cent in 2016, compared to 22 per cent in 2017.

- Respondents appear to be ever less certain of a pay hike at their next review: 77 per cent of 2017 participants expect some kind of rise, compared with 79 per cent in 2016 and 81 per cent in 2015.

Michelle McMahon

European Facilities Manager at Mace Macro

How do you think your generation of FMs differs to those at the other end of the age spectrum?

My generation will push to integrate technology into the day-to-day delivery of FM so that we can deliver services faster, quicker and more efficiently to our end users.

Is FM as a sector in transition?

FM is transitioning from managing fixed assets to flexible working and we are needing to adjust our services to meet these flexible needs through smarter buildings and better spaces.

What’s the most important thing FM brings to the organisation you provide it for?

Support for a company’s culture and business objectives through the provision of an excellent end-user experience.

What is the single most likely cause of disruption to how FM is delivered in 

the coming years?

A shortage of talent. The FM workforce is ageing, with 50 per cent due to retire in the next five to 15 years and a limited supply of talent entering the industry. We need to be outlining the career opportunities in FM, providing guidance on the routes available for entering the industry.

What skills set successful facilities managers apart?

A successful FM is a chameleon, able to adapt instantly to the situation at hand. An individual’s ability to adapt and communicate sets great facilities managers apart.

Alex Murray-Hawkes 

FM Operations Manager at Sodexo

How does your generation of FMs differ?

Gen Ys are a lot more impatient for change and for response. We’ve grown up with instant communications, emails, texts, social media – it can be frustrating when things can take time to process. Technology is so far advanced in other industries but we seem to only just be embracing it in FM.

Is FM in transition?

Definitely. From hard services, where there is a skills gap with fewer young people coming through and the challenges this brings, to the digital transformation of FM and the economic pressures on our services.

What’s the most important thing FM delivers?

We can help make a person’s day, and if we’re not focused, make a day worse.

What might disrupthow FM is delivered?

Flexible working is going to be a huge disruptor. Space is at premium, and younger generations are approaching how they work differently. How can space be used creatively? Where can digital solutions support people when they aren’t actually in the office?

What sets successful FMs apart?

Being able to challenge is hugely important; we need to be the experts but also be heard as such. Sometimes we need to disrupt how a process is run and challenge why this is to improve it. Confidence to make a decision in the heat of the moment and then stick with it after is so important.

Job satisfaction and opportunity

The number of FMs with upwards of nine years’ experience in the sector is increasing steadily – 61 per cent in 2017 compared with 56 per cent in 2016 and 54 per cent in 2015.

There’s a noticeable increase in respondents who have been with their employer for 14 years or more in the past three years, at 18 per cent in 2017 compared to 12 per cent in 2016 and 11 per cent in 2015.

Lack of career opportunity remains the most cited reason for FMs looking elsewhere for employment (31 per cent), with a ‘fresh challenge’ appearing as the most cited reason for FMs joining their current employer (43 per cent in 2017, compared with 40 per cent in 2016).

Nearly one in five respondents (19 per cent) reports that they expect to leave their current employer in the next 18 months to two years – a marked increase on 2016, when just 7 per cent of respondents gave this response.

This title, FM World, remains the most popular tool that FMs use when looking 

for a job in the industry (72 per cent use the FM World jobs site). The proportion of respondents saying that they have used or would use a recruitment consultancy has fallen, from 65 per cent in 2016 to 54 per cent in 2017.

1 in 5, Broadly one in five survey participants have been with their current employer for between 2 and 4 years – a ratio that has stayed consistent over recent years. (19% in 2017, 20% in 2016, 21% in 2015)

52% Why do they want to leave? Lack of career opportunity, at 52%, is the most commonly cited reason – up from 47% in 2016


The number of FMs enrolled in a pension scheme continues to increase, with 89% of participants in 2017 compared with 86% in 2016 and 82% in 2015).

The number of FMs receiving health benefits appears to be waning slightly, with 51% in 2017 compared with 54% in 2016 and 52% in 2015. 

The number of FMs participating in a profit-sharing scheme as part of their current package has also declined – from 19% in 2015 and 20% in 2016, it’s just 12% in 2017.

Simone Fenton-JARVIS

Chief Workplace Officer at Twinkl Educational Publishing

How does your generation of FMs differ?

Younger FMs have shown themselves to be increasingly innovative, agile and happier to move with the constant changes to the world around them. However, the older FMs have always been the ones I have learnt the strategy, values, approach and technical knowledge from. I think a balance in any workplace is key.

Is FM in transition?

Yes. There’s a lot more awareness of not only the industry, but the importance and impact of good (and bad) FM can have. There is also more training and more qualifications available, which I 

think is key for the sector.

What’s the most important thing FM delivers?

Functionality. So many buildings are great until you put people in them all working towards the same goal in a hundred different ways. FM is key in integrating the place and the mission; ensuring every single person can walk in a building and work efficiently and effectively.

What might disrupt how FM is delivered?

Agile working. FMs need to accept what is coming and adapt to ensure that we always go back to the premise that the building/space needs to work for the needs of the people. Not only will that look different all over the world, but it may look different on a daily basis.

What sets successful FMs apart?

Technical knowledge, communication skills and a can-do attitude. We need to offer solutions, communicate them in the right way to the right people and ensure that the perception always remains that FM is an enabler, not a blocker.


There is evidence that completing qualifications gives FMs more confidence in their role (50 per cent).

A BIFM qualification positively affects FM professionals’ confidence in their role. Nearly two-thirds of respondents with a BIFM qualification 

(64 per cent) report that their qualification has led them to gain more confidence in their role, compared with the average of 50 per cent.

Respondents with a BIFM qualification are also slightly more likely than the average to report that, as a result, they have either experienced a pay rise (19 per cent, compared with 16 per cent) or are expecting a promotion (9 per cent, compared with 5 per cent).

Nearly a third of respondents (31%) held a BIFM qualification with 26% in the process of studying for one

Overall, 52% held some form of qualification in FM with more than two-fifths of all respondents (45%) holding qualifications in a non-FM subject

Conrad Dinsmore 

Global Programme Delivery Analyst iss

How does your generation of FMs differ?

The older generation takes a more practical and hands-on approach, focusing on the core element of FM services. 

The younger generation wants to take technology and new ways of thinking to the industry, pushing and challenging the norm. But the two join together, because when technology comes into the industry it needs the experience of the older generation to ensure that it is introduced correctly.

What’s the most important thing FM delivers?

Stability and confidence that they can concentrate on their core business and that the structure that keeps it going will be well maintained.

What might disrupt how FM is delivered?

The use of technology in designing, construction and functioning of a building and how it is going to change the workplace as we know it. FMs should ensure that they are involved in every stage of a technology’s implementation, to have their say and experience in how it should run 

but also understand and be confident in the benefits of it.

What sets successful FMs apart?

An ability to relate to every individual they meet and work with, and to make decisions quickly and effectively whilst under pressure.

Pleun van Deurrsen

Facilities Manager at Incentive FM

How does your generation of FMs differ?

Ours has to focus on the softer aspects of the industry more than ever before. People appreciate personalised service more than ever. Customer service will be more at the forefront – we won’t be looking for operatives who can ‘just’ clean a floor, but those who can contribute to the contract.

Is FM in transition?

FM is, and always will be, in transition. We have seen single-service delivery merge into total FM and I think we are now moving back to single-service markets to have more expertise knowledge instead of general knowledge on a contract.

What’s the most important thing FM delivers?

Fewer worries. Organisations are established to do whatever they do best. They shouldn’t worry about why the lighting isn’t working, why there is no hot water or why the toilet paper hasn’t been restocked.

What might disrupt how FM is delivered?

Unrealistic expectations. People expect more for less; I would like to think that we have slightly moved away from it and that the bigger, cheaper players get all the contracts for granted and that they are looking for that extra service for which they are willing to pay. But how much is that extra service? That is something that needs to be established early on.

What sets successful FMs apart?

Emotional intelligence. Success is measured by KPI/ SLA results, but ultimately it is your staff who have to perform for you. To be engaging and genuinely interested in your staff will not only make them feel worthy, it will also encourage them to create a better place for them, and to perform well in their contract.

Pay and Prospects in detail

Full details of the 2017 BIFM Pay & Prospects survey will be available at www.bifm.org.uk from 15th January.

Emma Potter