Ten years ago, in a time before the then BIFM awards routinely recognised the achievements of up and coming FMs, we at what was FM World magazine set out to identify a group of 40 individuals representative of the future face of workplace and facilities management. The limit was on experience rather than age, in this case no more than 10 years’ of working in the sector; we wanted to find people demonstrating significant achievement in a relatively short space of time.
One such Rising Star of FM was Andrew Hulbert then strategic account manager for Rollright, and now managing director of Pareto FM. A decade later, we ask Hulbert about their personal progress and the evolution of the profession.
What do you remember about 2012 – and if you could, what would you warn your 2012 self about?
In 2012, young people in FM were still exploring the sector and discovering what opportunities it could provide. The sector still wasn’t particularly diverse or open to proper inclusion at that stage. I’d warn myself that we needed to have more of a focus on diversity and inclusion strategy at an earlier stage as it was going to become critical for employee welfare and business success in general.
What makes you excited about the profession? How has this changed from when you began your career?
Still today, the most exciting thing about the profession is the opportunities it can offer young people from any background. You still don’t need a university degree or a technical qualification to absolutely flourish in this sector. If anything, as time has gone on, I believe the sector has become more accommodating of young talent and I am constantly impressed with the next level of talent coming through.
How have your expectations of workplace and FM evolved? And what do you think the profession needs to do next?
The single biggest change is the use of the workspace. Workspaces have changed to become a destination for people to meet, live, work and play. Even in 2012 offices still felt very formal and a place where people specifically went to work. Today there has been a complete removal from that, even in traditionally bureaucratic sectors, which now see the office as a destination and extension of people’s daily lives.
What is the most pressing challenge facing the industry?
Occupiers having too much space and what are they going to do with it? The majority of occupiers in the UK have not seen a massive return to work which is seeing some occupancy levels below 20% consistently. This poses a genuine problem for occupiers as they come to renegotiate their leases and potentially take less space. The interesting concept is how innovation will drive the sector to attract the best talent and how this will impact the workspace.
What are your top three focus points currently and why?
- Diversity; and
Within Pareto we feel there continues to need to be a driver towards improving, implementing, and succeeding in an ED&I strategy across the facilities management and workspace sector. We are delighted to see the IWFM progressing with the ED&I committee of which Pareto has two board members. Pareto is leading the sector in this space, and we are actively working to progress our clients’ workspaces as well as our own. This must be a core focus for the sector moving forward to continue to modernise and move with the ever changing needs of the workforce.
To what extent have the behaviours and attitudes of your clients changed in the last decade?
I’ve seen a big driver towards a more transparent and relationship based partnership. Gone are the days of service providers hiding profit in complex sets of numbers. We see clients wanting a relationship that works for both parties and can have significant longevity. We see clients expecting to get value from their suppliers’ way beyond just delivering the base planned services. Ultimately, we see clients that want to have relationships with contractors that match their own cultures so the FM provision just becomes an extension of their inhouse teams.
Reacquaint yourself with our other Rising Stars of FM
- Martin Bell
- Annette Best
- Ryan Botta
- Dean Botten
- Will Bowen
- Peter Burnell-Jones
- Helen Cooper
- Martin Frohock
- Jason Gurd
- Adrian Harris
- Herbie Hawes
- Daniel Hawkins
- Ryan Jarman
- Annie Karastoyanova
- Stephanie Kendall
- Ben Luvaglio
- Kate Morris-Bates
- Darren Raczkowski
- Tom Robinson
- Rishi Sharma
- Tristam Slater
- Kate Smith
- Will Tyler
- Clifford Yeend