Last year was generally “a year of recovery when compared with 2020, with a marked improvement in both FM revenue and investment performance”, according to the 2022 IWFM Outlook Survey.
The report published today states, however, that the picture has “still been mixed with winners and losers”. It reports that Covid-19 has continued to be a major driver within the industry, with some FM organisations able to capitalise on increased market opportunities in areas such as cleaning, security and support and transitioning to changing working patterns such as hybrid and remote working.
For others, however, the pandemic has reduced FM activity because of reductions in occupied space and cutbacks to budgets. Brexit has continued to exert “a largely negative impact on the FM industry, in particular, by exacerbating skilled labour shortages and supply chain disruptions”.
The report states that keeping on top of changing skill requirements as market demands change and experienced workers retire remains “a key challenge moving forward” and it “will be pivotal to the future success of FM companies in all areas”.
It also states that increasing energy prices have presented “major challenges throughout 2021, with expectations amongst respondents that this will continue throughout 2022”.
Recent predictions of the UK domestic energy market, coupled with the outbreak of war in Ukraine since the Market Outlook Survey “imply these challenges will be even greater than envisaged”.
Although for the profession this is likely to be “detrimental to performance, for those FM companies involved in providing energy-efficiency and management support activities this is likely to provide market opportunities”.
The report states that it is “an opportunity for FMs to have a more strategic influence in organisations”.
It also makes clear that the “adoption and use of technology linked to the appropriate use of data remain key”.
The researchers conclude that “those that can harness the potential of new and emerging technologies and successfully apply data capture and analysis techniques to optimise technology use will be at the forefront of growth in the industry”.
But they say “a much more mixed picture is evident in relation to climate change concerns, with a broadly similar proportion of respondents identifying this as having a positive impact on the FM market as those perceiving this as a negative influence”.
Because of this, the report says, “it will be important to increase awareness of the opportunities arising from net zero commitments and how the profession can adapt to support steps towards achieving net zero goals”.
For the second year running the Market Outlook survey explores diversity and inclusion issues in the FM industry. Results indicate that “awareness and focus on these matters has continued to increase, but it is also clear that barriers remain that hinder progress in this area, particularly unconscious bias and lack of support, mentors and role models”.
The IWFM received 293 responses to the survey, which ran from 25th January to 25th February, which was above the 212 responses in 2020 but somewhat below the 433 responses to IWFM's 2021 survey.
Most responses were from senior and middle managers. The majority of respondents in both surveys worked in one or more regions of the UK, with London and the South East being the most commonly selected regions. A small minority in both surveys worked outside of the UK, for instance, in mainland Europe, the Middle East, or in some cases globally. The majority of respondents were in client-side roles in both the public and private sectors, but at least one-fifth of responses in each case were from individuals in FM service provider organisations. A broad range of sectors were represented in both surveys, ensuring a wide range of perspectives on the FM market in general.
Peter Brogan, IWFM’s head of research and insight, said: "Those able to harness the potential of new and emerging technologies and successfully apply data capture and
analysis techniques to optimise technology use will be at the forefront of sector growth. Working from the encouraging insight from this year’s survey, we will continue to develop tools to support the sector to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the evolving workplace.”