What FM Talent is Looking for in 2022

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It is clear for all to see that the recruitment market has been turned upside down over the past 2 years and candidate experience has changed significantly. The pandemic has caused people’s priorities to change sometimes drastically with individuals wanting to move roles but unsure of the current market. The recruitment market within FM has also gone through several changes. From locking down almost completely and only taking on critical staff in early 2020, to a more “buyer” led market where clients had their pick of candidates quickly looking for work, to now, where for the last several months job vacancies have been soaring and finding the right candidates has become much more challenging.

In 2021 we saw candidate applications decrease by around a quarter compared to 2019/2020. This has created vastly more competition for each role. Skills shortages, remote working and employers all seeking the same skills and talent has created a candidate-driven market, where employees have greater options and hold the power to leverage more on salary and benefits. Now more than ever companies will need to ensure they have an excellent employer brand and EVP to attract talent. They will also need to keep candidates in mind throughout the recruitment process and empathise with them in order to provide a service that feels personable and more condensed. This can be done by working closely with your recruiters (internal or external) to create touchpoints with the candidate to keep them on board and informed throughout. Facilities professionals tend to be detail oriented, so giving detail on the hiring process and especially on the company and culture you want to move into can be extremely valuable.

Candidates moving roles now are asking for more from their new position and employer including more development focused opportunities and improved employee experience. Salaries are increasing in many areas in the sector due to the demand for staff in FM. Likely as a result of Covid, people want more personal value from their work life. They would like purpose and the ability to affect change with their job, both internally at the company, but also in the sector. Many of our candidates are interested in sustainability and innovation, paralleling the wider goals for the FM sector in the next few years.

FM is a diverse sector providing a wide range of roles and people really enjoy variation in their job. They want to have different projects to look after, as well as the ability to stretch into new projects that will benefit the business in many ways. Giving employees the space to improve the business can go far, and FM is a great place to be to make meaningful change through workspace changes and influence over employee experience both remotely and in the office.

People are also looking for longevity. After the uncertainty of the last 2 years, candidates want to feel assured that the company they will work for has financial stability and will endure possible further hardship. They also want to see the opportunity to stay within the company for a long time, knowing that there is a development path in place for their role as well as general training schemes gives confidence that the organisation is buying into them as a person bringing value to the business. We are seeing a lot more people investing in their future by joining companies offering growth and learning on the job.

We have also seen really positive feedback from people moving into companies with low attrition rates, something that is invaluable to the sector in the current moment. Many companies are trying hard to hold onto employees, and high retention rates are a great way to attract new talent. Flexibility is one key way of lowering attrition (where it can be offered), and many candidates are taking roles that offer majority working from home other than for certain meetings or site visits. LinkedIn has found “81% of executives are changing their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility to their workforce”. Many in FM say they’re happy to commute, just not every day now so companies not offering flexible working where perhaps they could will likely struggle to retain and gain staff.

The candidate experience even at the end of 2021 is still quite online, with companies often choosing to do initial meetings, introductions and interviews remotely to get a sense of the candidate before inviting them to the office or sites they will be working on. This has been seen as a good thing generally as it reduces the time and monetary costs of getting to a physical interview, and allows candidates more time to prepare. As things have re-opened for businesses, people have been invited to meet in person to complete later stages of the hiring process.

It is important to keep the momentum going with hiring processes. With candidates potentially never meeting anyone from their new team in person before they start, it is vital to keep lines of communication open. Candidates want fast decisions from the recruiter/ hirer and a quick turnaround so that they can move into the role sooner after interview.

Opening up communication with your candidates early is paramount and this is where working closely with your recruitment partners can really help you. Hiring managers, internal and external recruiters can work closely together to really understand the culture of the business and the way teams work so that they can relay this to the candidates in a detailed and honest manner. Being open and honest about your business from the start allows candidates to make the right decision for them early on, so if they feel a poor fit for the team or the culture, they can take themselves out of the process earlier on.

The hybrid nature of hiring has changed the candidate experience. Companies are currently able to shorten the recruitment process by screening online and using the hybrid recruiting model to its full advantage. Shorter hiring processes will really benefit companies, particularly when the competition for roles is so high and you have to work harder to demonstrate that you really value a candidate before someone else does. A quick decision will be the difference between a great fit for your team, or not hiring anyone at all.

300 North are the Facilities Management recruitment specialists providing permanent, temporary and interim solutions to the UK Facilities Management, Mechanical & Electrical and Construction sectors. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your recruitment needs by visiting our website home page or calling us on 0113 336 5161.