• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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IWD: Looking at women in facilities management

IWD: Looking at women in facilities management

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of women in different landscapes around the world. However, there is still much work to be done.

Relating the celebration of this day to facilities management (FM), statistics reveal more men are employed in FM than women, but the number will likely improve as more women enter the industry, particularly when they take up leadership roles.

Organizations have to ditch the stereotypes that facilities management is “men’s work” to recruit more women. To do this, showcasing the value women bring to the industry such as excellent communication skills and being expert problem solvers are necessary. There is a place for women in FM if industry leaders create opportunities for them.

Furthermore, it is important for women to come together to discuss how to increase their visibility in the industry, share their strategies for success and address fears or frustrations that they may have. This also allows them to share wins and champion others to continue to break into the industry.

Learning technical skills and embracing concepts such as sustainability and the built environment and being comfortable with change are all important ideas to embrace for anyone interested in joining the facilities management (FM) profession. For women, not only is it important to understand these concepts, but to also show their peers that knowledge of these and many other FM topics enable them to stand out.

It is obvious there are challenges women may face in the FM industry such as difficulty finding role models and mentors. Organizational culture, work-life balance, and overall workplace health may not always be prioritized in male-dominated industries, yet improvements in these areas will benefit everyone, not just women.

With women being a smaller percentage of the workforce, employers may want to consider recruitment of women as a strategic opportunity. Recognizing the contributions of women can help to highlight the rewarding and growth opportunities for women in the industry.

However, it is not enough to recruit more women into the FM industry but incentives should be provided to retain them to avoid early exit. A general advice is to seek mentors in the industry who can provide guidance and support, create an active network platform within the industry, and speak up on their ideas and accomplishments whilst embracing challenges as opportunities.

Specifically for careers in FM, the following will be useful:

•Understand the built environment: Gain a deep understanding of how to operate a built environment to effectively manage and improve it.

•Focus on sustainability: Embrace green practices and sustainability, a growing focus in facilities management.

•Learn technical skills: Acquire knowledge in areas like HVAC, electrical systems, building automation, and other technologies for a competitive edge.

•Adapt to change: Be prepared to adapt to new technologies and methodologies in this evolving field

Celebrating women’s achievements in FM sends a powerful message that success is attainable, providing motivation and hope to those considering a career.

The world is changing, and women are excelling in careers once dominated by men. Even though the industry is currently dominated by men, there is a great opportunity to grow in the profession. Like other industries, facilities management faces a shortage of workforce talent, and women are increasingly filling these gaps as companies recognize the value of more diverse teams.

Engaging with professional organizations that help support women in FM through networking and educational events bring professionals together to expand knowledge base, learn best practices, share project successes and grow professional network.