Insight Blog

Healthcare & Higher Education Facilities: High Demand Skill Sets

In recent years, the role of Facilities Management (FM) has become increasingly recognized as a vital component of healthcare and higher education organizations and responsibilities of professionals within this realm have greatly expanded partly due to issues within this sector such as:

  • Aging facilities

  • Limited funding

  • Deferred maintenance

  • Succession planning

  • Green initiatives

  • Complex building programs and capital projects

As the FM role has evolved within these institutions, we are seeing the current high-demand skill sets as:

  • Technical knowledge/degree in mechanical or electrical engineering.

  • Understanding of computerized maintenance management systems.

  • "Continuous improvement” mentality to look for better ways to do things versus doing things a certain way because that is the way they have always been done.

  • Strong business acumen along with the ability to calculate return on investment for maintenance, energy, and capital projects upgrades.

  • Ability to identify and implement utility cost savings measures with an eye towards increased efficiency, sustainability and environmental focus.

  • Strong communication skills, both within the department and in the community of end-users. These skills need to be verbal, written, and preparing and delivering presentations. Most organizations seek professionals who are as comfortable in the board room as the boiler room.

  • Proactive approach to maintenance - Identifying potential issues and taking action to address them before they escalate into problems. In the corporate world, the goal is 80% preventative or predictive maintenance and 20% reactive maintenance. Most institutions are closer to 80% reactive maintenance (dealing with emergencies) and they would like to get out of the “firefighting mode”.

Going forward, institutions will be focused on sustaining increased efficiency and decreased costs despite the challenging issues they face in their sectors. By successfully securing professionals with these skill sets, they will be able to continually and effectively develop and benchmark best practices that will lead them to achieving their goals.