Feb 9, 2023
The Social Media FM generation
The facility management industry has been going through disruptive changes in the last decade, and it is set to change even more in the coming years. According to the IFMA, about 50% of facility managers will retire in the next ten years. With this in consideration, millennials will be the ones replacing most of this workforce – so what will change when the new generations account for most of the FM’s in the market?
Currently the average age of a facilities manager is 49 years old, IFMA found, and one of the main challenges in the FM industry is the resistance against technology. A study by McKinsey revealed the main obstacles for companies to adopt technology for facilities management even though being available: a lack of digital skills within facility managers, continuous focus on cost cutting and the leadership team having other priorities. The organisations exploring the integration of FM and related services have their focus on streamlining management and improving performance.
Millennials, or Gen Z, is the first generation to grow up with the internet, cell phones and digital communication. Often described as “digital natives” for growing up tech-savvy, as professionals they are more than comfortable learning and using the latest software releases in their workplace. Millenials are also considered to be extremely loyal and motivated to their jobs when they see possibilities for career progression or learning opportunities.
So what is the future of this industry when currently most of its workforce is still relying on manual paper-based systems or spreadsheets, and the new generation coming in will not settle for these inefficient methods? The same study by Mckinsey states that tech disruptions are pushing legacy companies from many industries to free up money to invest in technology. Besides, it is getting more expensive to attract and retain the best talent as unemployment rates go down. Thanks to these, the facility management industry is expected to grow and hit almost $1.9 trillion USD by 2024 (see image below).
When it comes to the workplace, one of the things that the younger generation value the most is the work-life balance – the ability to work from home, have flexible hours, and to be present in important personal moments, for example. But with property management we all know how difficult it could be to not be on site or physically supervising the work that has been done. That is when technology enters the picture to work in our favour – having a single source of truth system is a good first step to feel comfortable in not having to be physically present at all times. Being able to upload photos when referring to a specific job, having a live chat between your staff and suppliers and document storage on cloud are a few examples of non-negotiable features in this day and age.
Besides proving its efficiency and process optimisation, facilities and asset management systems in the market need to be intuitive and easy-to-use in order to be acceptable for both generations working in the industry. For millenials, it is also extremely important to be appealing to the eyes in regard to design and user experience, otherwise they will not give it any attention. Jake Wobbrock, Co-Founder and CEO of AnswerDash, says that millennials are more than capable of using technology services no matter what is the UX they provide. However, this generation is defined by being “experts at finding alternatives” which means they won’t waste any time on services with poor user experience that prevent them from performing tasks immediately. And for the baby boomers, used to clunky legacy systems, the learning curve and implementation process has to be short.
In conclusion, the amount of tech solutions available in the market are growing year by year – according to Unissu, a global platform for PropTech procurement, in 2021, there were over 380 proptech companies operating in Australia, with most of them joining the market in the last five years – combined with the new minded workforce can do wonders for the FM industry and really revolutionise how everything is done. It could finally mean a great change by putting pressure on legacy companies to finally adjust to the present times, resulting in even more growth for the industry. It is only a matter of the organisations actually listening to these valuable younger professionals and being open to change.
As millennials account for 75% of the workforce by 2025, having a CMMS to manage assets and facilities will be a huge incentive, if not a requisite, for organisations to attract and retain these professionals that are looking to do everything in an efficient, self served and problem-free way.
If you would like to see a demo of FMClarity and start making the change in your business, please contact us at fmclarity.com or 1300 111 362.