At current job roles in Facilities Management are largely occupied by males, the need to recruit more females into the industry is becoming ever more important, as we try to create an equality led environment. So relevant, important, and essential is this change, that the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) have created and curate their own ‘Women in FM’ special interest group. The group aims to; build networks; support; encourage and develop women either in FM or wishing to start their career in FM, as well as encouraging diversity and inclusivity within the industry. There are also a number of recruiters who are making it a priority to vocally and actively seek female FM professionals to join their database.
However, despite these positive steps, there is still a significant lack of females within the industry. This may be due to a number of factors, including the overriding idea that FM is predominantly maintenance-based work, which many women are put off by.
So, how do we encourage more women to apply for FM roles?
Well, firstly it’s important to dispel the myth that FM is purely a maintenance role. Whilst this does form a part of the position, it is by no means all of it. FM is a varied and interesting role, that looks at all aspects of a facilities management, to ensure a facility runs smoothly and cost-effectively. To put it in clearer terms, the role is that of a project manager of a building, both external and internal, requiring an organised, multi-tasking and thorough individual.
Mentoring is an important tool, that will help encourage and mentor young women to embark on a FM career. Having a female mentor will help a young starter see the possibilities this career could hold for them, however mentoring should be undertaken by both men and women, encouraging diversity and inclusivity across genders, race and class. Mentoring helps the interested party to understand what steps they need to take to become a FM, giving them constructive advice as well as introducing them to relevant industry contacts. In fact, according to a recent study, cross-gender mentoring is one of the best ways to promote parity and level the playing field for both men and women.
Additionally, equal pay, promotion opportunities, good maternity benefits and possible flexible working will also encourage women to apply for FM roles. At MSL, we are committed to supporting equality and that is why 50% of our workforce are female. Knowing that the company/industry they work within treat them equally, respect them, want to nurture and encourage their careers whilst also understanding the work/life balance having a family requires will help to ensure that more women choose a career in Facilities Management.