Facilities management is a branch of administrative services management that deals specifically with physical spaces. The facilities manager is responsible for the grounds, equipment, supplies, and the building's function, along with construction and renovation projects, cost-efficient energy sources, and workspace or residential design. Facility managers must prove competent in scientific matters--such as information technology, architecture, and engineering--as well as in interpersonal arenas. Typical responsibilities may include:
- Space and workplace planning
- Real estate and lease management
- Architectural planning and design
- Directing staff (maintenance, grounds, and custodial workers)
Additionally, facility managers must keep constant tabs on workplace safety to ensure that the environment meets security and maintenance standards. Most facility managers work from comfortable offices, but their duties are not confined to a cubicle. Many will divide their time between their home office, branch offices, vendors' offices, property sales sites, and construction sites. Although the work of a facilities manager may aptly be described as behind-the-scenes, theirs is often a hands-on profession, requiring regular supervision of grounds keeping, landscaping, construction, security, and parking. While 40-hour weeks are typical, many facilities managers must make themselves available during non-work hours in order to address unforeseen problems.
Facilities Management Career Training and Degree Programs
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand should be strong for facility managers in the coming years. Most facility managers earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, architecture, construction management, business administration, or facilities management. Many also supplement their formal education with backgrounds in real estate and interior design, and often have solid managerial experience. Practical background aside, the focused operation management program in facilities management degree offers career-specific training that is often attractive to employers. Other qualities valued by prospective employers are associated with good managerial skills, such as effective leadership, communication, and decisiveness. Facility managers must also be excellent at multi-tasking, as they are often required to simultaneously coordinate several activities while staying mindful of impending deadlines.
Facilities Management Salary and Job Outlook
The BLS foresees steady employment growth for administrative service managers over the 2006-16 decade. Facility managers should be particularly in demand, as businesses become increasingly cognizant of the importance of operations efficiency. Facilities are large investments, and corporations will look progressively more towards administrative directors to help cut costs and streamline operations. Industries least affected by economic changes will likely provide the most stable employment opportunities. According to the BLS, median earnings of administrative services managers in 2006 were $67,690, and the federal government offers facility management jobs with slightly higher pay than average. Hiring managers may prefer or require the focused training that a facilities management degree provides.