Chris Pesek: Millennials Are Facility Management’s Future; They Just Don’t Know It (Yet)

  Facility management has an aging workforce (aver...


Facility management has an aging workforce (average employee age of 49, six years above the U.S. general working population average)—but it doesn’t have to be that way. A recent JLL survey shows that only one percent of Millennials are studying facility management, yet they report values, skills and aspirations consistent with a career in this industry. The research reveals a critical disconnect: an industry offering meaningful careers, young people seeking jobs that make a difference in the world—and a lack of awareness of one another.

As companies face a Baby Boomer retirement wave, the demand for facility management jobs far exceeds supply, creating a pronounced talent gap expected to worsen in the years to come.

The new JLL report, The Future of Facility Management: Attracting Millennial Talent,” provides insights into this unbalanced talent supply and demand equation—and how global corporations can solve it. Included in the findings are some counter-intuitive insights:

  • Millennials don’t consider facility management as a career path—but they should. Millennials value jobs that offer constant learning opportunities, a clear career path and an enjoyable, rewarding workplace. While facility management careers typically offer these attributes, few Millennials are aware of the industry.
  • Many Millennials already work in fields related to facility management—and don’t realize it. A substantial number of respondents already hold jobs that relate to facility management skill sets, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as project management and architecture.
  • Millennials don’t distrust large corporations as much as we thought. More than half (52 percent) of the Millennials surveyed work for a multi-national or national corporation, despite widespread perception that Millennials prefer smaller enterprises.
  • Many vocational school programs are excellent preparation for a career in facility management. The study points to facility management as a good career for associate degree candidates studying HVAC and other programs that develop skills for operating highly-technical operating systems and machinery.
  • Millennials are open to learning about facility management. More than 71 percent of Millennials are open to learning about new careers—a positive sign for both corporations needing talent and Millennials looking for rewarding careers.

Creating careers, reducing risks

The study affirms outsourcing as a sound method for bridging the generational talent gap, by offering career paths that offer sustainability, meaning and purpose. In fact, corporations that don’t outsource facility management face a unique set of risks.

With at least $1 trillion spent on facilities management each year, according to The Economist, it’s become increasingly vital for self-providers of FM to find alternatives to these escalating facility management pressures. Particular challenges include: capital funding and cost management; continuity and resiliency; staffing sources and cost of talent development; advancing technology, mobility and virtual collaboration; data analytics and decision support; delivery of non-core functions and competencies; leveraging economies of scale attainable via outsourced partners; and, connecting facilities management service delivery to organizational performance.

JLL’s The Future of Facility Management: Attracting Millennial Talent tracks demographic shifts in the facility management industry. The complete findings of the report are available here.

Chris Pesek is Executive Vice President and Director of Integrated Facilities Management (IFM) for JLL. He can be reached at