Open-access content Thursday 15th August 2013
Around the world, British FM expertise is in demand. We've learned from our past experiences and offer a degree of insight that many foreign companies are keen to employ, writes John Bowen.
15 August 2013
It's occurred to me of late just how much British expertise is in demand around the globe.
The map of the world may not contain the levels of pink that it did when I was first at school studying geography. And while it seems like our influence over the planet has diminished in many ways, our business acumen still counts for a lot in other nations.
Our presence in the massive property growth of the Middle East is well known, but it goes a long way beyond there. I would add that US companies are happy to hire in British expertise to support their global operations, not just in FM, but also in logistics, procurement and supply chain, so what do we have then that others don't?
I think that part of the answer may be to do with the face that we've been at this globe-trotting lark for several hundred years. But perhaps that is really too glib an answer. The reality is, I believe, more that the UK has reacted very well to the global crisis and, regardless of media and political rhetoric, business people respect what we have to offer and are willing to pay to get us on board.
Also, the UK has made great strides in raising the profile and standards within the profession, which has been largely driven by the BIFM. In practice, this gives the UK facilities management industry a capability - and a credibility - that is in demand. Over here, of course, this means there are many opportunities for consultancy and training provision. Across our market, the knock-on effect has been the increase in interim and contract roles - of which, many readers may well be taking advantage already.
Another factor is the way in which projects in the UK are influencing global businesses. In the past year, I have seen a couple of FM projects at the UK base of global companies, where the concept is being exported to other sites that those businesses operate from in the US and Europe. The interesting thing is that both of these companies are US-owned. Perhaps this adds weight to the argument that was set out in an article published in the 4 July edition of FM World, which focused on the different FM markets in the US and UK.
In the article, Dave Wilson made the point that, in the early days, the US led the way in FM. In recent years, however, we Brits have started to nose ahead in the innovation stakes. Controversial, maybe, but I believe this is borne-out by the facts on the ground.
Whatever the case, the demand for British talent abroad appears to be stronger than ever. British business acumen, including that in the FM sector, is playing an important role in the export market.
John Bowen is an FM consultant