By Anthony Heim

On Wednesday January 10, 2018, GTC of IFMA held an intimate luncheon at the The Mayton Inn in Cary. Jeff Tafel, Executive Director of the IFMA Foundation, gave a thorough presentation on the future of FM as a career.

The IFMA Foundation was created by the Board of Directors of IFMA in 1990. The main goal being to promote facility management education and awareness. In 2014 the foundation recognized a growing problem. An increased need for facilities managers and an aging workforce will lead to a shortage of qualified professionals.  This was the beginning of the Global Workforce Initiative.

The IFMA Foundation is all about making FM a Career of Choice, and ensuring the career pathway to an exciting and fulfilling career in FM is available to all students and individuals looking to enter the profession. The Global Workforce Initiative (GWI) seeks to fill the growing FM workforce talent gap as more than half of today’s practitioners are expected to retire in the next 5-15 years. The goal is to introduce the profession to students before they make career decisions and increase the number of accredited FM degree programs worldwide for those seeking FM higher education.

Mr. Tafel jokingly referred to FM as “the accidental profession.” Many people that end up in the profession inherited the role over time. The lack of formal education & training is a big reason for the work force deficit.

Working in partnership with impacted industries around the world, the IFMA Foundation is leading the charge to make facility management and facility services a career of choice. By working with educators at all levels and increasing the number of accredited FM degree programs around the world, the Global Workforce Initiative is helping to create a clear career pathway to an exciting and fulfilling career in FM.

So what makes FM a good career choice? With the high demand and smaller candidate pool, FM is a great option for young people in high school and college. The opportunity to begin a well-paying career that offers job security was a highlight of the presentation. Mr. Tafel reminded us that these are jobs that can’t be sent outsourced.

With a few pilot programs showing initial success the IFMA team is on the way to correcting the employee gap but no one entity can do it alone. The success the IFMA Foundation has experienced, is because higher education, local chapters, government (workforce and economic development agencies), FM employers, secondary school districts, students, teachers, instructors, and Foundation leadership all came together to make FM a Career of Choice in their state. These organizations are realizing they have a common problem and a shared responsibility to correct it.