In the period between now and the General Election every prospective candidate will be eager to talk with both individual voters and business leaders in the hope of gathering support. This is a rich opportunity for those of us who care about the positioning of facilities management in UK society and economy. Not only do we have the chance to attempt some influence over the thought processes of the incoming parliament but also to raise the profile of FM with a broad cross section of the nations movers and shakers.
Do They Realise How BIG We Are?
Many supposed authorities have vastly different estimates of the size of the British FM market thanks to our continued inability to properly define it. Market researchers MBD publish a quarterly report which is frequently cited. Their latest estimate is that the total UK spend on facilities is now £116.8bn. That is a significant proportion of Gross Domestic Product and yet successive governments have steadfastly ignored the existence of the FM sector and the contribution that it makes to UK plc.
Industry analysts Plimsoll latest report names 398 companies that meet their definition of an FM business. However analysis of National Statistics by Asset Skills identifies some 13000 organisations in the FM sector and this doesn’t include all the many single service specialist businesses within the broader FM footprint. Either way despite falling profitability recently, that means a lot of businesses are still making big deposits in the taxmans bank account each and every year.
Another major factor of FM is the size of the workforce. Asset Skills’ 398 FM businesses employ some 137,000 people but that ignores many tens of thousands of cleaners, receptionists, caterers, engineers, security guards, telephonists, mail room and portering staff, archiving and landscaping people. The wider definition of the FM footprint adopted by MBD incorporates the entire supply chain involved in the operation of support services and the built environment. With an estimated 3.5 million jobs involved, FM is importance to of vital importance to the UK economy.
More comment soon on the impact FM has on society and our need for recognition.