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Facilities Professionals are Retiring: Here’s Why That Can be a Good Thing

June 30, 2022

“Some of my most experienced facilities professionals are aging out of the workforce, and that’s supposed to be good? Are you joking?” you might be wondering. While the situation may look bleak on the surface, it’s actually a major opportunity to strengthen your facilities management – if you’re willing to change.

Facilities Management Professionals & Retirement By the Numbers

Baby Boomers and Generation X make up most of facilities management today: 80% of people working in facilities management are 40 years old and older.

About 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age every day. By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be eligible to retire.

Meanwhile, fewer people are available to replace those retiring. Less than 20% of current facilities management professionals are under 40 years old. Manpower Group’s 2022 report on talent shortage found:

  • Global talent shortages have reached a 16-year high
  • 3 in 4 employers report difficulty finding the talent they need
  • Operations & logistics are among the top 5 most in-demand job types
  • Large companies (250+ employees) are struggling the most to recruit and retain talent

As a result, your remaining employees will have to take on more work to make up for the gaps left by those retiring. In other words, fewer employees to shoulder a growing workload.

Retiring facilities manager stands in the warehouse

The average tenure in the facilities maintenance industry is quite long.

  • Roughly ¼ of employees stay in their role for an average of 10+ years
  • Another ¼ stay an average of 8-10 years
  • Finally, another roughly 25% have an average tenure of 4-7 years

Facilities professionals tend to stay on the job long enough to learn an incredible amount of institutional knowledge. When they retire, that knowledge will leave with them if you haven’t taken steps to capture it and pass it along to newer employees.

Retiring baby boomers get all the headlines. And while you probably have a few on your team, the actual median age of facilities managers is 50 years old, placing them squarely in Generation X. That means more than half of today’s FM practitioners will be eligible to retire in the next 5-15 years.

How on earth can all of this be a good thing like our title suggests? The situation will push you to make proactive, positive changes to how your facilities team runs. One of the most important changes you can implement is to start using facilities management software.

3 Ways FM Software is the Solution to Retiring Facilities Professionals

Implementing facilities management software not only reduces the negative impacts of losing employees to retirement – it also brings a number of other advantages to your team.

1. Facilitates Faster, More Comprehensive Knowledge Transfer

Ed has been doing facilities management at your company for decades and he’ll be retiring at the end of the year. Suddenly, you have to make a mad scramble to write down the hundreds of tidbits of institutional knowledge he’s picked up over the years.

Ed’s the only one who knows there’s old piping behind a wall that was put up 10 years ago. He’s the only person who knows the trick to keeping your old boiler from acting up. And he’s the one everyone goes to when they can’t find that one fire extinguisher that’s bolted into an out-of-the-way cabinet. If Ed leaves before you’ve captured everything he knows, you’re out of luck.

FM software is a repository for all of your facilities-related data. Instead of your valuable building information walking around in different people’s heads or scattered among various paper file folders and computer desktops, FM software brings it all together into one place that everyone can access. We call this a single source of truth.

For example, AkitaBox Pulse FM software holds:

  • Digital floor plans that include the location of every asset
  • Current asset data – including current condition, photos, and notes
  • Asset relationships
  • Maintenance history
  • Work order management
  • Inspection schedules and reporting
  • Data from your latest facility condition assessment
  • Capital management information

With complete, accurate data living in your FM software tool, Ed’s no longer the only person on your team who knows essential day-to-day secrets about your buildings. Instead, existing employees and new team members can quickly find whatever information they need to do their jobs. Your colleagues can also add new information into the system as they learn or discover it, allowing everyone to benefit.

Older facilities professional doing knowledge transfer with younger employees

2. Creates Efficiencies So Fewer People Can Do More

As employees retire, many facilities teams either don’t have the budget to hire replacements or find it hard to recruit qualified candidates. That means your existing team members will have to take on more work to make ends meet.

FM software can streamline or even automate manual, time-consuming tasks, giving your team time back in their days to focus on more vital issues. Here are just a few ways FM software can bring efficiencies to your team:

  • Save time searching for assets in buildings
  • Quickly look up critical information such as maintenance history or O&M manuals
  • Streamline the work order process
  • Cut down making multiple trips between sites
  • Automate preventive maintenance schedules
  • Complete inspections faster by setting up inspection routes
  • Standardize your FM processes
  • Speed up data entry/admin tasks

3. Gives You an Edge in Recruiting New FM Professionals

The competition for qualified FM professionals is intense, so anything you can do to make your team more desirable to Millennial and Gen Z workers is smart.

Younger generation workers are very tech savvy. They expect employers to use technology to streamline their day-to-day work and support productivity. Outdated tech or software that’s not user friendly is a huge turn-off to them.

Implementing FM software aligns with the expectations of these “tech first” professionals and boosts your chances of recruiting them. Sophisticated FM software shows potential employees that you’re not afraid to use technology and that you’re the type of company that says on top of advancements in the industry.

The built environment is becoming increasingly digitized with innovations like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Big Data. FM software puts your team in a position to take advantage of these opportunities and attract digitally-minded employees who can use these innovations to take your facilities management to the next level.

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Bonus Advantage: Enables Data-Driven Decisions

Many facilities managers lack the accurate data they need to effectively oversee their team and make important decisions. Instead of generic statistics, siloed data, outdated information, gut feelings, and guesses, FM software provides facility-specific data that’s up-to-the-minute current.

A facilities management software system:

  • Brings all of your facilities data into one easily accessible place
  • Allows you to track key metrics and KPIs
  • Incorporates your FCA data
  • Makes it easy to update facilities data (everything from asset condition to work order status)

Facilities data you can trust is the key to driving better decisions and optimizing your operations. Check out these blog posts for a more in-depth discussion on this topic:

The Silver Tsunami is Here – Will You Sink or Swim?

Each day brings you closer to more retirements on your team, so there’s no time to waste. Be ready for the future of facilities management with AkitaBox FM software. See why we’re a top choice for facilities teams across the U.S. by clicking below to learn more.

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Betsy Francoeur

Betsy is AkitaBox's Content Manager. She loves to write blog posts, e-books, whitepapers, emails, and magazine articles about all things facilities management. She also enjoys traveling, running 5ks, and cuddling with her dog.

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