Sector Skills Agreement
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
For further information, please contact: Dr Sally Walters Head of Research Asset Skills Sol House St Katherine’s Street Northampton NN1 2QZ Telephone: 01604 824109 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
1. Introduction ....................................................................................................... 2 2. Housing Managers............................................................................................. 3 2.2 Recruitment difficulties ................................................................................. 3 2.3 Skills needs and gaps .................................................................................. 7 3. Housing Development Staff ................................................................................ 9 3.1 Context ........................................................................................................ 9 3.2 Recruitment difficulties ................................................................................. 9 3.3 Skills Needs and gaps .................................................................................10 4. Chartered Surveyors .........................................................................................11 4.1 Recruitment Difficulties ................................................................................11 4.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................13 5. Home Inspectors ..............................................................................................15 5.1 Introduction .................................................................................................15 5.2 Recruitment Difficulties ................................................................................16 5.3 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................17 6. Estate Agency ..................................................................................................18 6.1 Recruitment Difficulties ................................................................................18 6.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................18 7. Block Managers ................................................................................................20 7.1 Recruitment Difficulties ................................................................................20 7.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................21 8. Town planners ..................................................................................................23 8.1. Recruitment Difficulties ...............................................................................23 8.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................24 9. Cleaning Operatives .........................................................................................25 9.1 Recruitment Difficulties ................................................................................25 9.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ................................................................................30 9.3 Basic skills ..................................................................................................33 10. Cleaning Supervisors and Managers ...............................................................34 10.1 Recruitment Difficulties ..............................................................................34 10.2 Skills Needs and Gaps ..............................................................................34 11. Facilities Manager...........................................................................................38 11.1 Introduction ...............................................................................................38 11.2 Recruitment Difficulties ..............................................................................38 11.3 Skills Needs and Gaps ..............................................................................44 12. Conclusions....................................................................................................48 12.1 Housing managers ....................................................................................48 12.2 Housing development staff ........................................................................48 12.3 Chartered surveyors ..................................................................................49 12.4 Home Inspectors .......................................................................................49 12.5 Estate Agents ...........................................................................................49 12.6 Block Managers ........................................................................................50 12.7 Town Planners ..........................................................................................50 12.8 Cleaning Operatives ..................................................................................51 12.9 Cleaning Supervisors and Managers ..........................................................51 12.10 Facilities Managers .................................................................................52
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
Priority Occupations in the Asset Skills sector
The purpose of this report is to examine in much more detail the key issues facing each Asset Skills industry – Housing, Property Cleaning and Facilities Management in relation to recruitment and skill development. This examination is considered to be fundamentally important in highlighting the way that current training and skill development activities undertaken by HE, HE and private sector providers may need to change in the future in order to meet the needs of each industry. Guidance provided to all Sector Skills Councils in the UK in carrying out their assessment of training provision also emphasised the critical importance of focussing on key skill areas and areas of current and future skill shortage1. In order to examine the key recruitment and skill issues Asset Skills has undertaken a process of identifying and agreeing a number of „priority occupations‟ within each industry. Using evidence obtained from the Skill Needs Assessment 2, consultation undertaken with employers and professional bodies / associations a number of priority occupations were identified. In addition, Asset Skills also undertook an extensive process of consultation with members of each industry board 3 in order to obtain endorsement for the priority occupations that should be the focus of attention. The ten priority occupations agreed through this process were as follows: Industry Housing Property Priority Occupation Housing Managers Housing Development Staff Chartered Surveyors Home Inspectors Estate Agents Block Managers Town Planners Cleaning Operatives Cleaning Supervisors / Managers Facilities Managers
Cleaning Facilities Management
Each of these priority occupations will be considered in turn:
Managing the Sector Skills Agreement Process, Guidance and Standards, Final Version 1.0, February 2006, Skills for Business 2 Asset Skills undertook a detailed assessment of the skill needs facing businesses which resulted in the production of a „UK Wide Skills Needs Assessment‟ that was published by Asset Skills in March 2006. The report is available for downloading at: http://www.sna.assetskills.org.uk/ 3 Asset Skills has established industry boards that consist of employers and relevant professional bodies / associations within each of the property, housing, cleaning and facilities management industries
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
2. Housing Managers
2.1 Context Housing managers are felt to be a priority occupation because of their strategic role in the organisation of the industry. In recent years the sector has experienced a major transition from providing housing through local authorities, to an increasingly public-private partnership, via organisations such as housing associations, together with the implementation of Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO‟s). The government‟s agenda for the regeneration of communities requires people to have a wider set of skills. These are not only the skills involved in managing property as a landlord, but a need to know how communities and local economies work. Community development and partnership working, particularly with other statutory bodies, is also an area of skill need. The housing officer is being stretched increasingly to be the glue between different operators in the regeneration area. This also requires arbitration and negotiation skills. These changes have been accompanied by significant changes in the skill sets needed by housing managers. It is also clear that in looking at recruitment and skills there is a need to recognise that there is a variety of different types of Housing organisation. These include rented housing, shared ownership, key worker, foyers, supported housing and care, which all bring with them slightly different skill requirements. In addition, there are a range of corporate skills within each organisation that include IT, finance, HR, marketing, etc. In this context the actual housing management role represents only a relatively small proportion of overall staffing within a modern Housing organisation. A significant distinction is drawn between Housing Associations and local authority housing departments. Local authorities continue to perform a statutory and strategic housing function through the production of a housing strategy and the associated assessment of housing needs. Local authorities also perform an important role in the identification of land for housing development through the local planning process. However, whilst local authorities continue to play an extremely important housing enabling role, they are no longer involved in the direct development of social housing. The development of social housing is a role that is mainly performed by Housing Associations. Whilst Housing Associations remain „not for profit‟ social housing organisations they are increasingly considered to be social businesses with a much more entrepreneurial approach.
2.2 Recruitment difficulties
The recruitment market in housing varies across the UK but there is generally perceived to be a shortage of suitably qualified and experienced housing managers in the south of the country. It is important to recognise that in addition to carrying out general housing management roles, housing managers can also be responsible for specialist management activities (i.e. in relation to supported housing) or be involved in community development and regeneration activities, where housing managers are
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector often involved in providing a crucial coordination role. These different roles have implications in terms of the particular skills sets demanded. There are some acute skill shortages in the south, south east and London areas and the Chartered Institute of Housing recognise that there is a demand for managers with housing knowledge and skills but in other parts of the country (i.e. North East, North West and North Midlands area) the picture is more mixed. With respect to recruitment difficulties, the National Housing Federation commented: “It‟s a very fast growing sector. They (Housing Associations) have generally got difficulty with recruitment and they are upping the salaries to try and get people into the sector”. A local authority Housing manager within the South West highlighted recent difficulties recruiting housing managers. “We‟ve been quite fortunate in recent years but unfortunate in the last few months as we have lost a few members of staff and like everybody else we‟re beginning to experience problems in recruitment and retention of staff. We‟ve just recently lost a housing advice manager and in previous years we had a good response to that particular post, but this time we only had five applicants for interview and only two of those were employable. And I‟ve heard that other local authorities in Devon have had similar problems” One Housing Association manager based in the North East indicated that in general they had not experienced recruitment difficulties other than on the supported housing side, but where this was the case this tended to be for more specialist roles. “I‟d say that the only difficulty we‟ve had in the last twelve months in any other aspects of work we carry out would be in the more specialist roles. So, for example, we did have difficulty recruiting a property manager. We ended up using an agency to get somebody. That was quite difficult to get. Other than that we haven‟t had much of a problem”. The career progression of a Housing manager has a clear route within the industry: Housing Assistant – deals with the management of a small patch of properties looking after allocation of tenancies, repairs, transfers, voids, tenant consultation. ▼ Housing Officer – larger area involving some management responsibilities ▼ Housing Manager – has a largely organisational role ▼ Director ▼ Chief Officer of a small Housing Association A consequence of this path is that housing managers tend to be promoted from technical posts but will often lack formal managerial skills. One housing manager commented in relation to inadequacies in formal management skills: “Trying to encourage people to formalise ….what they should be doing, I suppose it‟s tradition that people are there by default, purely because they‟re good at the post
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector they‟ve been in so by default they end up in this other position. So probably that‟s where the key skills are lacking there”. The Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team suggests that there is a relatively mature age profile in the sector, exacerbating this issue and leading to a diminishing pool of labour for housing managers. One housing manager commented: “I think our difficulties lie probably in attracting young people to housing. It‟s not traditionally something that people tend to want to come and do”. There are some particular differences between Housing Associations and Local Authorities in terms of how they each operate, which has implications, both in relation to particular skill sets demanded and the scope for tackling recruitment problems. Housing Associations are perceived to operate in broader areas and in a more commercial manner. They tend to look for people from more non-traditional areas i.e. marketing, customer care and accounting skills and enrich their organisations by bringing in non-housing and non-local authority people. Therefore Housing Associations are competing with private sector organisations for these candidates. The National Housing Federation indicated that there are also recruitment difficulties in high-level law, marketing and finance. With respect to finance positions it is perceived to be particularly difficult to compete with the private sector. The National Housing Federation also indicated that a lot of Housing Associations are re-thinking their approach to recruitment and are looking for all sorts of skills beyond housing management. In particular they are looking to recruit people from different backgrounds, particularly in relation to people with customer care skills. This is felt to be partly because Housing Associations are experiencing difficulty in recruiting housing managers, but also because this is what Housing Associations now want: people with excellent customer care and general management skills and they are now recruiting and competing with the private sector for people with those skills. This is not a reflection of all Housing Associations but is perceived to be a growing trend and is felt to be particularly true of those Housing Associations that are prepared to be innovative. However, it was also noted that a particular consequence of the current recruitment difficulties is that Housing Associations are increasingly in competition with each other. It is clear that some local authorities face particular difficulties competing with Housing Associations when recruiting at a management level. One local authority housing manager commented: I think the other area where we‟ve been struggling is the strategic enabling role, which is quite a specialist area of work in itself. And the difficulty we face there is that people ideally we would be looking to target would be either existing housing association staff or other staff in other local authorities. Then again it‟s quite a limited pool and the difficulty we face really as a local authority, we under-match the Housing Association wage level. Some of these recruitment difficulties have been increasingly tackled through housing organisations which develop their own staff. Such organisations bring in
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector people at a relatively junior level and provide an in-house training programme and use an accredited centre often with the CIH to deliver qualifications. One large housing association interviewed runs a graduate programme that is open to anybody, irrespective of whether they have a background in housing. They commented: “We don‟t necessarily recruit graduates with housing experience. In fact I can‟t think of many on our last three graduate intakes that have actually had a housing background. They have all been very good, the fact that they haven‟t come from a housing background doesn‟t seem to have affected their performance on the job at all, so we haven‟t really targeted graduates with a housing background, we have been much more open in our recruitment. We are looking for the potential leaders of the future, we are looking for bright people who have an enthusiasm and an interest in housing although not necessarily experience, who are prepared to move around the organisation during their training programme and learn about different aspects of the organisation, to get a good grounding in the organisation and postponing decisions about where they actually want to work until they have had a good view of all different parts of the business but essentially they are going to be the future leaders of the organisation, people with potential”. There are also housing organisations that offer (mainly postgraduate) studentships so a person can share time between university and actual employment in the industry. Recruiting students to these positions depends on cost. In Scotland and Wales there is some funding from the government to support housing organisations, whilst in England this type of support dried up about 5/6 years ago. It is also apparent that people who undertake postgraduate courses do get a very good chance of recruitment after completion. It is also clear that some housing organisations are simply lowering their requirements for housing staff in response to recruitment difficulties. One local authority housing manager commented in relation to recruitment of staff at a strategic management level: “Ideally (we would look for) part-qualified Institute of Housing qualification, probably 2-3 years housing experience, and again in an ideal world we‟d have asked previously for some of that experience to be in development or a strategic enabling role. But again, we would probably lower our sights now to include people who‟ve got 2-3 years experience in housing”. “Because of the severe employment pressures on local authorities it‟s getting difficult to stipulate that so we‟re having to revise person specifications downwards in effect”. The need to concentrate on those attributes essential for particular posts was underlined by another housing manager in a Housing Association who commented: “For estate officer posts (we are) looking for – desirable; qualification in housing management at level 3. And then experience – a year in the housing sector. What I have done is actually challenged quite a number of our specs over the last 6-7 months because we were in danger of asking for things that we weren‟t going to get, so to try and keep them as flexible as possible. Obviously that wouldn‟t go into the advert, we tend to just put the essentials into the advert and keep the applications as wide as we can and then take it from there”.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector More emphasis is now being placed by some housing organisations on experience rather than professional qualifications. One local authority housing manager commented: “As the housing market‟s changed in terms of recruitment, so our person spec has had to be watered down and from being an essential requirement it is now desirable. So increasingly people‟s experience is fast becoming more of an essential criteria. So if somebody‟s got 2-3 years experience in housing or related areas then that‟s the essential criteria rather than the professional qualification side. And I think to some extent staff interest in taking up those sorts of qualifications has diminished as a result”. “A good recent example is a local housing association has just taken on a Director of Development and he said he‟s got lots of experience, he‟s only got 4 „O‟ levels, no degree, no professional qualification and he‟s now development director at £80,000 a year because of his knowledge and experience. So you can end up at fairly senior positions without having had any formal qualifications. Again, probably 5-10 years ago you would have had to be professionally qualified”.
2.3 Skills needs and gaps
Asset Skills sector specialists have identified that skills needs with regard to housing managers fall into three broad categories: managerial competencies, generic skills and future skills. The following section summarises key skill gaps/needs under each of these headings: Managerial skills gaps: Inspirational leadership and people management skills Financial management - Now much of the housing stock has been transferred out of local authority control there is more of a need for financial skills Project management - Employers want people very conversant with IT systems, commercial management and a breadth of skills and knowledge. They are looking for more creative flexible individuals Leadership - negotiating, conflict resolution and developing teams Skills in efficient practice Knowledge of the requirements of government with regard to organisation Problem solving Performance management Mentoring and coaching staff within a team Managing residences, stakeholders and property Housing strategy (Strategic enabling roles, co-ordinating partnership working etc.) Specific skills relating to the creation and implementation of ALMO‟s
Generic skills gaps Customer care and communication skills IT skills – There is some evidence of managers and CEOs with poor IT skills who prefer to maintain face to face contact as opposed to emails. The need for more people entering the industry from other backgrounds i.e. the private sector, and possessing qualifications outside those in housing.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector The National Housing Federation indicate that lots of Housing Associations are perceived to be investing substantial amounts of money in customer care skills and customer care training programmes. In relation to skill gaps in customer care one housing manager from a housing association commented the “Housing Quality Network have come in, they‟ve done a very quick and dirty assessment of our customer facing aspects of the business and we‟ve got gaps there. That‟s something that we need to look at”. Future skills needs: A number of drivers of change in the skills of housing managers in the future were identified. These include: Changes in housing quality standards and associated skill needs Mergers/acquisitions of housing associations – The Chartered Institute of Housing note that the increasing move towards fewer and larger housing organisations is leading to bottlenecks in terms of career progression opportunities. Large scale stock transfers from local authorities to housing associations and ALMO‟s The broadening of the role of housing organisations to encompass a range of community and economic regeneration functions. The Chartered Institute of Housing highlight the less structured career roles in relating to supported housing and housing related community development/regeneration activities. Regeneration is seen to be a relatively new area, with a range of different skill demands. In particular, there is an emphasis on partnership working with health, education and social services. It is considered that these sorts of people could well be the future leaders of housing organisations because they would have that broad overview.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
3. Housing Development Staff 3.1 Context
„Housing development staff‟ as a collective are identified as a priority occupation in the housing sector in terms of the role they play in assessing current and future housing needs, developing strategy and coordinating provision (a strategic enabling role) and in identifying and acquiring suitable development sites for new homes (development activity). These two areas of recruitment difficulty have been considered together because there is often considerable overlap in the roles performed in the enabling and development activities. Housing development overlaps strongly with Construction Skills. However, it was considered important to briefly highlight particular skill and provision issues raised by housing organisations that fall within the Asset Skills footprint.
3.2 Recruitment difficulties
Housing Development activity has been fluctuating for a number of years with housing organisations increasingly working on direct development activities. There is some overlap with housing management roles, but essentially these activities can be spilt into three main employment groupings. Development Officers – Deal with the administration Development Managers – Take care of three or four sites on a more technical level, surveying and construction procurement. Director of development – Look after contracts and negotiations
There are also staff that primarily work for local authorities that deal with housing strategy and carry out an enabling role, which has a direct influence over development activity. The National Housing Federation perceive difficulties in recruiting across a range of occupational areas within housing organisations, particularly project management and surveying skills, with respect to development activities. Project management skills are perceived to be in large demand as a result of the scale of development projects taking place. “One of the issues that we have got with our Pension Scheme 4 is that salaries in this sector have been increased by double the average just because of trying to attract people into the sector. It‟s a sector that‟s growing very fast; there are stock transfers taking place and more and more properties moving into the sector and also being developed”. The Chartered Institute of Building identify skill shortages in technical areas of building, including building surveyors and indicate that a lot of oversees recruitment has taken place in the construction industry to address these difficulties.
The Social Housing Pension Scheme
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector One major Housing Association in London and the South East which has been very successful at recruiting in general highlighted they still experienced recruitment difficulties with respect to qualified building surveyors. They commented: “Recruitment in lots of areas hasn‟t been an issue for the last three years, except in one and that is maintenance, surveyors in particular”. The career roles are increasingly perceived as hierarchical and less structured, ranging from the initial stages of site procurement to the handover of homes. According to professional bodies this means someone working in a project management role with architects, surveyors and builders, etc. is less likely to move into a Chief Officer/director role because of its specialist nature and the same goes for an officer moving into a management position. A further issue identified by Asset Skills is that development managers tend to fall into the mature male stereotype and their work increasingly puts them in competition with private sector companies. Asset Skills sector specialists indicate that what is needed is the recruitment of a good mix of technical, housing and management skills but there is a general shortage of people with technical abilities in the industry. One of the reasons identified for this shortfall is because housing associations tend to recruit from other housing associations, rather than the rest of the housing and construction industry and therefore decrease the pool of skilled individuals. A further difficulty may be the increasing move towards fewer and larger housing organisations, which is believed to lead to „bottlenecking‟ or the squeezing of career progression opportunities.
3.3 Skills Needs and gaps
Housing development work needs a mix of technical and managerial competencies to run projects effectively. Skills gaps that have been identified include: Pre contract negotiation Technical skills in construction/surveying etc. Knowledge of property law Housing association finance Boundary disputes Asset management Construction procurement Negotiation skills Arbitration skills
Future/changing skill needs will depend on a range of factors including: The Government‟s agenda for the regeneration of communities. Sustainable communities require people to have a wider set of skills. It is not only the skills involved in developing houses but also a need to know how communities and local economies work. The Olympics and consequent impact on housing in the South-east of England.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
4. Chartered Surveyors 4.1 Recruitment Difficulties
Employers from across the nations and regions have expressed difficulties in recruiting Chartered Surveyors due to a limited number of people qualified in this profession 5. One Chartered Surveyor with considerable experience of working in London as a Chief Estates Surveyor commented: “This is becoming especially acute in the public sector and in areas where there is an explosion of property schemes being developed over the next 10/15 years such as the Olympics - £3 plus billion; Stratford Town - £4 billion on its own; Canning Town £2 Billion; Silvertown area £2 billion: that is just in Newham. Add in the rest of London and the Thames Valley and the development going on is mind boggling. Where are all the Surveyor‟s to do this work?” A recent RICS survey reported that the construction industry is experiencing a severe shortage of surveyors and construction professionals. Cathy McClean, director RICS Wales said “for large projects such as the Olympics, Wales should be wary of a „brain drain‟ to London” 6. In addition to the pace and scale of development activity, particularly in London and the South East, a further cause for this shortage is perceived to be the high entry routes into the profession; the chartered status acts as a barrier to recruitment. However, this is not borne out by evidence from RICS that points to a steady increase in the number of people undertaking surveying courses to a 15 year high (see Chapter 4 on provision). Nevertheless the recruitment position appears to be having the effect of keeping the profession very competitive and salaries high. Additionally sector specialists within Asset Skills believe that the length of time it takes to become a chartered surveyor is putting many people off joining the profession: “The university system is ok, but it isn‟t producing enough Chartered Surveyors; the demand for Chartered Surveyors over the next ten to fifteen years is still perceived as being very considerable, so from a degree point of view, the issue is to attract non-cognate graduates (university graduates with a related, but not accredited degree). It has to be accepted that we will not produce enough people to work within the industry from these traditional routes.” This view has also been endorsed by other Chartered Surveyors. One commented that: “There needs much more thought on how we may be able to fast track bright students if we can attract them in the first place”. The RICS have stated that at a professional level the recruitment difficulties/shortages are primarily perceived to be amongst quantity surveyors and to a lesser extent Building Surveyors and Building Control rather than on the
It should be noted that Asset Skills is primarily concerned with Chartered Surveyors that work on the property/estate agency side as opposed to the construction side of Chartered Surveying, which is the responsibility of Construction Skills. However, it should be noted that a significant proportion of Building Surveyors work within industries that fall within the Asset Skills footprint, notably in housing. 6 th Reported in the Western Mail, 19 July 2006
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector property/estate agency side. However, this does not appear to accord with the views of Chartered Surveyors working within the industry. Local authorities are perceived by RICS to be very important in the market place for surveying disciplines, but it is perceived that they are quite traditional in their approach to recruitment. In this regard one Chartered Surveyor commented: “There are particular institutional difficulties in managing property sections. Salary systems are locked into the social workers‟, planners‟, engineers‟ local authority pay scales…which give a totally non market related assessment of what pay should be”. “You can make jobs a lot more attractive and exciting if you were to multi-discipline, multi task the teams in my view”. A particular issue facing local government in relation to the recruitment of Chartered Surveyors is therefore considered to be the relatively low pay compared to the private sector. “We spent £20,000 on adverts, and had three applicants. The worry is that there are not the people out there, and how do we get the youngsters interested? This problem is pretty widespread because we are poaching people from all areas. It costs £18,000 to recruit any person. Who is out there and how do we encourage the youngsters to get interested in the surveying profession covering all disciplines?” It is felt that the surveying profession needs to encourage young people to actually think about surveying as a profession. In particular it is considered that the property profession needs to be better sold to the younger people at the grass roots level before their mind is made up about a future career. The Chartered Surveyor‟s Training Trust in conjunction with Asset Skills and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) are working on a programme which takes 16 to 18 year olds and trains them to become chartered surveyors in order to combat the traditional „graduate intake‟ route. However, this scheme is not working very well at present and due to funding difficulties is likely to now only apply to the London area. In relation to the recruitment market over the next few years the RICS commented: “I don‟t think we are going to come to the stage where there are too many graduates, although some of the large London firms who account for maybe 15-20% of all graduate placements…some of them are not taking Bachelors people anymore. They really are only taking people with Masters degrees. Some are even going one stage further and recruiting what are called non-cognate. That is people that have done their first Bachelors degree and they will put them through a Masters conversion programme”. However, this trend in relation to the employment of „non-cognate‟ people is not perceived to have become the big trend that everyone thought it might. It is believed that this trend tends to be at the top end of the market involving very bright individuals (i.e. someone with a first in History from Cambridge). The much bigger trend is perceived to involve the recruitment of people with Masters Degrees in surveying. However, it is considered that people undertaking Bachelors degrees have generally done twice as much learning in relation to surveying and are likely to have more technical skills.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector Sector specialists within Asset Skills believe the average age of surveyors is mature and there will come a time when a lot of people will retire at the same time causing a greater deficiency in numbers. For this reason it is considered that employers are going to have to make more use of work experience as a recruitment tool to balance the diminishing numbers of candidates and increase the labour pool. The relatively old age profile of Chartered Surveyors is something that has been consistently raised in discussions with surveying companies. One organisation that was interviewed employs 270 Chartered Surveyors and their average age is 53. This has potentially huge implications for recruitment within the sector Owain Llywelyn, Chair of Welsh Branch of RICS, warned that the industry faced a demographic „ticking time-bomb‟. He said “we have a gender and age deficit in that a lot of the membership is aged 45-65 and the proportion of ladies to men is woeful – something like 15%”. Commenting on concerns that too many people enter the industry he said “back in 1988-90 there was the perception that universities were churning out too many estate management graduates and Armageddon was on the horizon – now, lo and behold, we‟ve had an unbridled investment market and house prices have rocketed” 7. A number of firms of Chartered Surveyors have endorsed the broad findings set out in this section.
4.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
Employers have reported skills gaps existing between academic knowledge and the reality of the job, hence there is a constant need to refresh skills in line with actual surveying practice, new surveying tools and software as well as changes in standards across the UK. Surveyors are fee earners and are taken away from this activity if they have to mentor new recruits; therefore general training for new staff is often surpassed so that the firm does not lose money. One firm of Chartered Surveyors commented: “…as an employer of over 300 residential chartered surveyors I can confirm that mentoring is a particular problem. Fee earning work that can be carried out by graduates is very limited in the residential valuation market undertaken”. In the future it is believed that people will be increasingly trained to do one specific task, for example the Surveying Support NVQ will enable people that are trained and qualified to do some of the jobs that Chartered Surveyors have otherwise done, such as measuring a building. They will take over this function, releasing Chartered Surveyors to do other things. This is being undertaken in a lot of areas and can easily be a help in the training of staff prior to them becoming qualified as part of the process. The RICS thought that business skills were deficient in the market and tried to impose a secondary qualification on members (a Certificate in Management Studies (CMS) or an NVQ 4 in Management) within the first ten years. There was an enormous backlash, particularly from the big firms of surveyors. Whilst these firms were saying they did not want this qualification there is no doubt in the eyes of the
Reported in the Western Mail, 18 July 2006
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector RICS that many surveyors that go into management do not have sufficient skills in this area. The large surveying firms were arguing that they would deal with any shortfall in management skills. It is felt that the property/real estate side in surveying particularly lack the necessary business skills. However, the RICS believe that this business management deficit is being increasingly recognised and addressed within the property side of Chartered Surveying. The definition of these management skills is perceived to be a difficult area. RICS classify a number of areas of business skills that are needed within the surveying profession including: Managing finance, Strategy, People, Resources and ICT. In relation to the overall priorities for skill development it is believed there has to be more of a marriage between property and business skills. Property is believed to be such an intrinsic part of the Boardroom activity and companies like Tesco are believed to have recognised this a long time ago. There is therefore a need to see property as a business skill rather than a separate skill that is bolted on later. Generally it is felt that less compartmentalised jobs will be available in the future and a broader range of skills will be required. In this regard there is likely to be an increasing change in the way that jobs in relation to Building Control, planning and surveying will be constructed with much less clearly defined boundaries. One area that may have a significant impact on the work currently undertaken by Chartered Surveyors is the implementation of Home Information Packs and Home Inspections. However, the recent government announcement 18 th July 2006 that the production of a Home Condition Report by licensed Home Inspectors – would not be introduced when Home Information Packs became mandatory in June 2007 appears to make this less likely for the time being. There has clearly been a lot of negative publicity concerning Home Inspections, and one large surveying company commented that: “The attitude of some is that I‟m a Chartered Surveyor so I don‟t need to be taught anything”. The home inspection accreditation process represents a relatively small part of the training of a chartered surveyor. For example, there is no training in relation to commercial property and no valuation element. However, it is also clear that progression paths enabling those achieving home inspector status to progress into other property related areas are currently being developed. For example, a „bolt on‟ valuation course to enable home inspectors to complete a valuation report. Prior to the government‟s 18th July announcement on Home Condition Reports one large national practice employing over 200 Chartered Surveyors commented: “…the introduction of home inspection accreditation may change the market. It will be interesting to see how many will now view the need to be a chartered surveyor after the introduction of home inspectors accreditation linked to a „bolt on‟ valuation qualification. – Organisations will look at whether a full chartered surveyor qualification is necessary” The role of Home Inspectors is considered in more detail in the following section.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
5. Home Inspectors 5.1 Introduction
Home Inspectors were consistently identified as a priority occupation by employers and professional bodies in the surveying profession during the period in which fieldwork was conducted for this research in April – June 2006. Members of the Property Board at Asset Skills also endorsed the classification of Home Inspectors as a priority occupation in consultation carried out during June 2006. It was estimated that 7,500 Home Inspectors would be needed by June 2007 under the government‟s original proposal that every home sold in England and Wales would need to be accompanied by a Home Information Pack. This represented a considerable challenge to the surveying profession and associated training and qualifications infrastructure. However, on the 18 th July 2006 the government announced that a fundamental plank of its policy on Home Information Packs (HIPs) – the production of a Home Condition Report (HCR) by licensed Home Inspectors – would not be introduced when HIPs became mandatory in June 2007. Asset Skills issued the following statement in relation to the government‟s announcement: “Asset Skills welcomes the Government‟s announcement to introduce Energy Performance Certificates as part of Home Information Packs, but is concerned that a number of employers who have invested heavily in preparing for the new system (including Home Condition Reports) will feel let down by the late change in policy. Whilst recognising the concerns of some employers over HIPs, unnecessary confusion over the numbers registered to become Home Inspectors and the potential cost of the packs has done little to illustrate the benefits of the Packs themselves. Asset Skills hopes that the change of approach represents a move from a 'big bang' introduction to a more gradual phasing in. Otherwise the 4,000+ individuals who have invested time and money to become registered with ABBE as Home Inspectors, following Government assertions relating to the scheme, will have been trained in vain... We hope that over the coming months employers, lenders and Government will work together to ensure a system that will meet the needs of purchasers, sellers and employers alike”. There remains considerable uncertainty and confusion within the surveying profession surrounding the government‟s announcement. It is clearly too early to come to any meaningful conclusions concerning the future role of Home Inspectors, but it is nevertheless felt appropriate to review the position in relation to both the recruitment difficulties and skill needs that resulted in Home Inspectors being classified as a priority occupation by Asset Skills.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
5.2 Recruitment Difficulties
The government has not allowed Chartered Surveyors an automatic right to undertake home inspection work. This appears to be largely because some of the skills involved in home inspection are different to those of a Chartered Surveyor. For example, an unusual aspect of the home inspection from the surveying perspective is measuring the energy capacity of a house. Although the RICS state that a number of Chartered Surveyors are undertaking the Diploma and will undertake home condition reports, it is felt that the numbers involved were relatively limited because the preparation of the home condition report is seen as a fairly technical operation. Asset Skills sector specialists believe that Chartered Surveyors hold a poor perception about becoming Home Inspectors, and that this would need to be overcome in order to improve the „conversion‟ rate of qualified surveyors. Chartered Surveyors tend to agree that the occupation of home inspector would be quite difficult to sell to young people and probably be something that appeals more to older people. There appeared to be different views as to whether there would have been sufficient numbers of trained and licensed inspectors by June 2007. The RICS believed that the government would struggle to get the numbers in time: “The RICS is an assessment centre and have about a 45% market share of all those that are being assessed for the Diploma. Unless the government change what qualification is needed (at least on a temporary basis) it is felt there is going to be a significant shortfall of home inspectors”. Other Chartered Surveyors interviewed as part of the research process, who have been closely involved with the government reforms on house selling, indicated that: “…the numbers of Home Inspectors going through is probably at the right level. If you were to look at the government figures they look at 4,400 as of two weeks ago” (20.06.06). However, the government were clearly concerned about the numbers of Home Inspectors. For example the Times reported 8 that: “Yvette Cooper, the Housing Minister, admitted yesterday that part of the reason for scrapping the original plan was the failure to train enough home inspectors. Ministers had admitted that about 7,000 were needed, but so far only a few hundred had been trained”. Clearly there would have been serious implications if people had been unable to sell their houses because there were insufficient numbers of trained and licensed Home Inspectors available to produce home condition reports. However, the introduction of Home Inspectors was also seen as an important recruitment opportunity and a chance to breathe new life into the industry;
„Homes sale pack scheme is scrapped‟ Page 1, The Times, Thursday 20 July 2006
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “Most of us (Chartered Surveyors) have struggled for years to bring new people into the industry”.
5.3 Skills Needs and Gaps
The legal requirement for people to complete a Home Condition Report as part of the Home Inspection Packs from June 2007 would undoubtedly have had a fundamental impact on the housing market. The government‟s plan for HIPs has necessitated a massive investment in skill development and training in order to meet the likely demand for licensed Home Inspectors. It was reported that Rightmove had already invested £8.5 million in preparation for the introduction of HIPs and was sinking capital into the division at a rate of £1 million a month in readiness for the legislation 9. One company that employs 270 Chartered Surveyors commented: “The company has now put virtually all chartered surveyors through training in relation to home inspections. This has involved mentoring, a two-day conference and ongoing support. Overall this process has represented a huge financial commitment to train and register.” New skills will continue to be required on the part of surveyors in order to provide home energy ratings that still form part of the HIP. As with all fundamental change there has been a considerable degree of uncertainty within the surveying profession with often conflicting views on what is actually happening and this continues to be the case. Certainly the changes originally proposed would have had an important impact on the role currently performed by Chartered Surveyors. The previous section has highlighted that the average age of Chartered Surveyors is relatively high (50+ in many companies). This has caused particular difficulties in relation to the training and assessment required for the new regime, not least because it is often 20/30 years ago since Chartered Surveyors were involved in assessment and examinations. This has meant a sharp learning curve for Chartered Surveyors, on top of their existing duties. IT skills are a particular area where new skills have been need in relation to the use of specialist software, etc.
„Rightmove suffers £100m Hips blow‟, Page 51, The Times, Thursday 20 July 2006
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
6. Estate Agency 6.1 Recruitment Difficulties
Although employers interviewed generally did not indicate that there were any particular recruitment difficulties within Estate Agency, a number of companies indicated particular difficulties in relation to lettings. One leading estate agency commented: “Our key area of recruitment is estate agents. Interestingly we are having difficulties in recruiting in this area especially in lettings. I have talked to the recruitment agencies and they believe that demand is currently far higher than supply”. However, employers and professional bodies have recognised particular skills needs and gaps within estate agency.
6.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
A lot of new recruits into the industry do not have specific job experience and they are often required to complete a qualification. The NVQ is fairly popular amongst estate agencies, but the NAEA state that this largely restricted to the under 25‟s due to cost 10. However, many graduates who have obtained a degree (outside the field of estate agency) feel that it is a step backwards and therefore approach the NVQ training with some resistance. Due to the commercial environment within the industry and a concern for the bottom line, Asset Skills sector specialists believe that many establishments do not have a good history of training; Estate Agents do not tend to use slack periods for training and skills development; instead they cut back and save money. Moreover some employers are failing to recognise the need for skills meaning that many employees are operating without the correct skills and knowledge. This was validated by the Asset Skills employer engagement team with one employer expressing that they did not assess their skills on a formal basis. Due to the parochial nature of estate agency, it was thought that the skills gaps found at one office would be different to those found at another. Likewise, some small offices will only recruit one person per job role which makes the business very dependent on that individual‟s skills. Many estate agents have grown up as „one man bands‟ and since the property boom they have found themselves operating in an increasingly competitive environment, requiring additional skills such as negotiation, entrepreneurial, project planning and management skills. Proprietors, directors and middle managers especially need to be able to market themselves effectively, develop a business strategy and exercise skills in management and leadership. At a lower level, negotiating skills and IT skills are most needed. There is also an increasing number of foreign nationals buying and renting accommodation in the UK which necessitates that estate agents are able to assist customers with language skill needs 11.
The NAEA has developed qualifications in the sale of residential property at NVQ levels 2 & 3. This information was obtained from sector specialists within Asset Skills
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector Specific skills in communication, negotiation and tendering are considered lacking by employers across the whole profession in addition to technical and managerial skills amongst management and leadership roles. In response to Asset Skills consultation on this issue one estate agency commented: “Your understanding of skills shortages for negotiators matches my experience. For managers the main gaps are management skills and business understanding i.e. how do you develop and build a business?” Amongst front office staff and sales staff there is a shortage of so called „qualifying skills‟. This is the ability to work out what position customers are actually in and how likely a sale is. Some staff do not know how to close a deal and lack instinct in identifying potential clients. The skills deficit continues throughout the organisation as good negotiators are often promoted to team leaders without any management training. In addition, many of the smaller firms are family run and will often ignore the formal training element of management and will therefore not have well qualified and experienced managers that can cascade skills throughout the organisation. It was also considered helpful if estate agents knew more about mortgages and could offer a more guided, well rounded knowledge about the property buying, letting and selling process although this will be clearly subject to Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations12.
These views have been obtained through Asset Skills sector specialists and employers
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
7. Block Managers 7.1 Recruitment Difficulties
“We have a dire shortage of quality property managers”13 Interviews conducted with the trade and professional bodies elucidated a difficulty in recruiting quality block managers into the sector owing to the sector being regarded as not as glamorous as other careers. This perception also has an impact on the recruitment of younger people resulting in an aging workforce with concerns about future succession. One professional institute stated that they saw 10% of its membership leaving the sector every year, albeit these numbers were more than made up by new recruits. Although the net result is an overall gain, time, effort and costs are perceived as wasted in recruitment and training costs. Property Management companies interviewed also recognised that there is a shortage of suitably skilled people in the labour market. “I often feel there are not enough suitably skilled, experienced or indeed qualified senior property managers available, given the increasing demand in the sector. Qualified surveyors dealing with property management tend to be older surveyors I have noticed at some ARMA seminars/conferences.” “There is a shortage because property management in particular is not the glamorous side of the industry; it doesn‟t seem to attract the younger element in search of a high-flying career”. It should be noted, however, that not all property management companies interviewed had experienced recruitment difficulties. It also appears that property management companies generally prefer to recruit older people because they are considered to be much more reliable and of course experienced (although the new age discrimination legislation will impact on this approach). In this regard one property management company commented: “Depending on the position to be filled, we often look for someone with good basic common sense and the potential to respond to a good grounding in the legal aspects of the work. We recruited, for instance, an ex maintenance coordinator at Cadburys, now in his 60‟s. Given his good background knowledge and familiarity with contractor management, backed by the knowledge acquired to comply with Landlord & Tenant law, he now looks after our gas safety issues, day-to-day repairs, etc.” Furthermore, it is feared that the recruitment situation relating to block managers is likely to worsen. In particular, it is estimated that the additional 60-80,000 long leasehold flats that are being built in England and Wales each year will increase the requirement for 100-150 additional qualified property managers and their related support staff each year 14. A property management company based in London also highlighted the fact that the “volume of work is huge” and predicted even further “phenomenal” growth with the
David Hewett, Executive Secretary, Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) Information obtained through ARMA
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector significant development activity taking place in the lower Lea Valley, particularly in connection with the Olympics. In order to overcome any recruitment and retention difficulties, one professional body – the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) 15 – is working to promote and raise the profile of the block management sector as well as educating the public about the role of property managers. To the same end, the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM) has created a recognisable career path within block management by providing practitioners with a portable, professional qualification which is aimed at encouraging entrants into the sector. Nevertheless, the resource pool for block managers is very small and it is difficult for the smaller firms to replicate the career prospects that are offered by larger firms. Recruitment difficulties are therefore believed to be driven by three factors: 1. Attractiveness of block management as a career 2. The considerable expansion in the number of long leasehold flats being built 3. Attrition Although ARMA will be undertaking a major recruitment drive in technical colleges and universities with careers officers to try and encourage quality people into the sector, the Association are seeking the support and assistance of Asset Skills in driving this forward. The recruitment of quality people to the profession is considered to be vitally important by ARMA and an area which is felt to require further research.
7.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
The main knowledge needs identified by the ARMA education committee are to keep up with the enormous amount of direct and indirect legislation that impacts on the activities of this sector and customer focus and communication. In this regard ARMA commented: “It‟s unbelievable what the government is hitting us with. It‟s a huge problem...There are very few people out there, I would suggest, that understand the implications of all the legislation, it comes at you so fast and in so much depth.” Legislation is undoubtedly the main driver of skill change in the sector. In this regard a property management company commented: “At the moment we‟re snowed under with new legislation. We try and find out what we‟re supposed to be doing and when - effectively we sit down, we talk about it, we work it out, we form a strategy...because there‟s not enough training out there”. “I think our side of the industry is probably subjected to more legislation than any other. It‟s a vital aspect of what we do – knowledge and compliance is critical to do the job properly.” As a consequence it appears that much of the training undertaken within property management companies is informal and involves “learning the job on the job”. “Consequently, when faced with an unusual problem or an untried and untested piece of new legislation, we resort to pooling experience in an effort to evolve a strategy.”
It should be noted that ARMA cover England and Wales, but not Scotland or Northern Ireland
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector It is clear that property management companies are concerned about the lack of good training available to fill emerging skill gaps. For example, there is a concern that there is very little training available to help people with legislation relating to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and the introduction of a new fitness standard. Similarly there is a concern about the lack of training available in relation to energy efficiency certificates 16. “I would suggest if you rang up 20 agents dealing with residential property management, 17-18 of those would be unaware that potentially from next year they‟ve got to have energy efficiency certificates. That is a big issue. It‟s just not happening out there.” Concerns have been expressed by companies interviewed over professional standards and this appears to be an important issue facing the industry. One company commented that they felt this was one of the main issues faced by the industry in terms of getting staff with the necessary skills. “Companies more concerned with profit than arming their staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to do the job well can give the whole sector a bad name To help improve standards, the public should gain more awareness and knowledge of their entitlements and service level commensurate with agreed management fees”. For more junior staff it is felt that there is the skills need to improve written and oral communication and IT skills. However, these are generic skills that employers in all sectors are seeking from more junior staff.
Asset Skills did seek approval from government for a three day training course for people in property management in order that they could provide energy efficiency certificates, but this was not approved.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
8. Town planners 8.1. Recruitment Difficulties
Planning officers are traditionally employed within local government in terms of forward planning / planning policy making and development control. Employment within local government also includes enforcement officers, assistant planners and planning support / administrative staff. However, planners are increasingly employed within the private sector (for example, within architectural and property companies) and also within the voluntary and community sector undertaking a wide variety of roles. Surveys undertaken within local government have indicated severe recruitment difficulties in relation to planning. A survey conducted by the local government employers organisation in 2006 identified planning as the profession with the second highest recruitment difficulty amongst all professional and managerial occupations within local government 17. Indeed the percentage of local authorities indicating recruitment difficulties for planners increased from 59.9% in 2004 to 66.3% in 2005. Similarly Asset Skills sector specialists highlighted that surveys completed for the London Olympics in 2012 show an availability gap for town planners. The skills shortages in relation to qualified planners are also something that has been consistently highlighted by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) who commented: “The main issue currently, and has been for a while now, is that demand for planners is outstripping the supply of planners coming through either from initial education or just availability in terms of absolute numbers”. This situation is reflected in particularly low numbers of applicants for planning jobs. It is also putting a huge pressure on those within existing posts, particularly given that the recruitment process is often lengthy. “There is a real problem about not having enough planners to fill posts and that is particularly acute in London and the South East”. The RTPI believe that the recruitment problem has been evident for the past two or three years. The RTPI had an Education Commission that reported in 2003 and the recruitment difficulty within the planning profession was something that the Commission gave consideration to. Although the precise numbers of planners needed in the employment market against the number of places within planning schools is not precisely known, the need for additional planners coming through the education system was clearly identified by the RTPI. In relation to the reasons for the recruitment difficulties within the planning profession, the RTPI believes that there are a combination of factors at play: Planning is higher up the government agenda, particularly in relation to the „Sustainable Communities‟ agenda and regeneration is driving the increased demand for planning skills and qualifications.
Recruitment and Retention Survey, Employers Organisation for local government, January 2006.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector The wider range of job roles and occupations that require planning qualifications. The Planning Delivery Grant – part of this grant is used for training and generally upskilling the planning workforce.
8.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
The RTPI believes that the skills agenda is being driven by two factors. Firstly, the specialisation of planners into a range of different areas such as waste planning, urban design, transport planning, rural planning, regeneration, minerals planning, etc. The member survey18 undertaken by the RTPI indicated that there was a need for much more specific training and skill development in specialist areas of planning that go considerably beyond more general planning provision. Secondly, the Egan report on skills generally across the built environment. There is also perceived to be a need for the generic skills that Egan outlined in terms of negotiation, brokerage, leadership and management. The RTPI also believes that there are considerable gaps in these areas, which are born out by the results of the membership survey which investigated the need for a range of different generic skills including: communication (public speaking) conflict resolution leadership strategic thinking project management
In addition there is believed to be much more need for knowledge and skills around finance and development finance for planners. There is a two-stage process to become a member of the RTPI. Firstly, there is a need for an individual to obtain an RTPI accredited qualification. Secondly, an assessment of professional competence requires graduates to develop an understanding of their skill gaps. This second stage is quite specific to the individual concerned, but indicates that once an individual becomes a member there is continuous training and skill development. A requirement of membership is that all members have up to date personal and professional development plans in addition to the requirement to demonstrate CPD.
The member survey is likely to be publicly available on the RTPI website from July 2006.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
9. Cleaning Operatives 9.1 Recruitment Difficulties
There appear to be mixed views on the extent to which the cleaning industry faces recruitment difficulties in relation to cleaning operatives. The comment made by the Cleaning and Support Services Association (CSSA)19 perhaps best summarise these views: “My perception is something of paradox. It is clearly very easy to recruit people because turnover is incredibly rapid in the industry. But at the same time recruitment is also difficult because members are putting substantial budgets towards recruitment and they are clearly not getting the right people”. In relation to recruitment, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc)20 does not perceive that there is a difficulty within the industry at the present time. This is because the BICSc feel that employers can get hold of as much foreign labour as needed. The benefits to employers are that these workers are perceived to be: Better educated Cheaper (minimum wage) Conscientious and have the right attitude to work
The BICSc went on to say: “At this moment in time we don‟t have a major problem in attracting people from outside (the UK) in. We do have a problem of recruiting people through our own systems into the cleaning industry. All the time we are attracting the Eastern Europeans we are not addressing the issue of raising the profile of cleaning as a career. That‟s the dichotomy.” A number of companies interviewed relied on foreign workers as local people were not perceived to be interested in cleaning jobs. However, a large number of migrant workers are in the UK job market without communication skills and often without work permits. However, as one company whose contract cleaning workforce comprised about 60% foreign nationals commented: “Generally speaking as long as they‟re trained by someone who shows them what to do and they can understand, and there is always someone around who can (help out)…. And their English improves tremendously once they start working. And it‟s not just East Europeans, we‟ve got people from Africa, China, I think last time I counted we had about 16 nationalities working for us.” The employment of migrant workers appears to be a significant issue for the cleaning industry and is considered further in the section dealing with skill needs and gaps.
The CSSA is a trade association that provides representation and membership services to many of the larger cleaning companies in the UK. The CSSA estimate that these member companies account for about 70% of the contract cleaning industry in the UK. 20 BICSc has been established about 44 years and is a body of individuals and companies who support the objectives of the Institute in improving opportunities for education, training and qualifications within the cleaning industry.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector The Association of Domestic Management (ADM)21 does see recruitment as an issue within the industry, particularly because of the increased competition from supermarkets, etc. There is clearly a relationship between the relatively low pay associated with the cleaning industry and the recruitment difficulties being experienced. The ADM believes that part time positions are particularly hard to fill as many people who traditionally opted for these roles will lose out on benefits, which is a huge disincentive to work. Anti-social work hours are also difficult to recruit for as they cannot fill shift patterns; this is perceived to be partly responsible for an increase in day-time cleaning. In this regard one company commented: “Recruitment is an issue in terms of getting people and often varies from location to location depending on availability of people in the particular area. There are a couple of issues affecting this. One is the benefits system at the moment because many of our people are part time and the number of hours people are offered depends on whether they come out to work or not. Then we have difficulties with reading and writing.” In relation to the nature of recruitment difficulties being experienced by cleaning company‟s one employer commented: “(It is) almost impossible to specify any particular qualifications or experience primarily because of the nature of cleaning. There are very few people who wake up in the morning and say „I would like to be a cleaner for the rest of my life‟. Maybe the downside is that sometimes we get so desperate that we would almost take anybody that has two arms and two legs”. Specifically in relation to the healthcare, ADM believes that the industry has to start to recognise that it needs to work harder and smarter in recruiting and retaining staff, so that it targets specialist markets and speeds up the recruitment process. The CSSA believe that there is a need to look at the actual employment benefits of the industry to tackle recruitment difficulties. This includes wage levels, holiday and sickness pay and the issue of daytime working. “People look at the industry and they perceive it as being low paid for long difficult and anti-social hours of working, not being integrated in the client‟s team and so on, but being just „the cleaner‟. As a result they walk away from it and would rather stack shelves in Tesco…” However, there does appear to be a stark contrast between the terms and conditions of cleaning operatives in the public sector when compared to those working within private sector cleaning contractors. One cleaning manager in a public sector organisation commented as follows:
The ADM is a membership organisation that is primarily concerned with healthcare cleaning and other cleaning activities at all levels, both in-house and contract.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “I came from a commercial background; I worked in contract cleaning before I came here 11 years ago. So when I came here they were on half pay when they were off sick, even though they didn‟t qualify for statutory sick pay, they had 23 days paid holiday and 14 public. They had a much higher wage rate than I had just left in contract cleaning and the same thing still goes. I think commercial companies are catching up a bit, but ….. now we pay our staff full sick-pay, obviously depending on the length of service but basically speaking they get full sick-pay when they‟re off, even though they don‟t qualify for statutory sick pay, the university pay it. They still get 23 days paid holiday a year and 14 paid public holidays a year. They‟re part of the pension scheme as well”. The other aspect of the recruitment paradox referred to by the CSSA is retention rates within the cleaning industry, which are notoriously poor. One large cleaning company employing over 3,000 people in the south east of England commented: “As a company at the back end of the last financial year I think our turnover was about 86%. When you think that when I came here four years ago it was at about 110%. And you‟ll go to some cleaning companies and you‟ll find it‟s in that region”. One contract cleaning company employing about 80 people indicated that: “Staff turnover, if you measured it in the traditional way, would probably be 100%. But because of the nature of our business we tend to want people for short periods of time anyway, so this time of year we do a lot of work for universities so we‟re actively recruiting students to work. And we‟ll have them for probably three months, and at the end of the summer they will go back to being students, some of them may stay and work for us part-time, the majority won‟t. So what we tend to focus on is the retention rate. How many people within our company have been with us for more than 6 -12 months? We‟re actually quite good on that front”. Private sector cleaning companies interviewed appear to adopt a fairly philosophical view on labour turnover and largely accept high turnover rates as part and parcel of the industry they are working in. “There‟s lots of other things we find affects turnover. It‟s quite a difficult area. As an industry we‟ve always accepted it. You‟ve got contracts where you‟ve got a stable workforce and you‟ve got contracts where you‟ve got a fluid workforce. If you go to some of our London contracts you‟ve got quite a fluid workforce and you ask the question why is it so fluid. And then you can go half a mile down the road to another contract and you find that most of the staff are settled and they don‟t go anywhere. But sometimes it‟s trial and error”. The position in relation to retention within the private sector contrasts markedly with the position in the public sector. Public sector cleaning managers commented on the retention issue as follows: “… We would have probably between 15-20% turnover. We do offer higher terms and conditions in contrast to the private sector. We are paying about £6.20 an hour and up to 28 days annual leave. Also we can, in closure periods when schools are closed in July and August, allow people rather than go in for every day for 2 ½ hours we can amalgamate hours, and work 5-6 hours per day over a relatively short time and then have much more time off during the summer. I would suspect that of our staffing we would have a core element who are relatively stable and then 20% on the outside. It is costly turning over and we prefer to stop that”.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “We‟re perhaps a little bit better than the private contracting section [in terms of retention] because being an authority people have a chance to get into the local government pension scheme, we‟re not a hire and fire employer, we can‟t afford to be….its about 15-20% turnover”. Within cleaning companies it generally appears to be the case that a relatively small proportion of the workforce accounts for the high staff turnover of the business. High attrition rates are thought to primarily relate to the nature of the area concerned i.e. inner city areas may have higher rates of turnover compared to rural areas. However, it does appear that there is also an extremely significant difference between the public and private sector in relation to retention rates. It is generally agreed by professional bodies/associations and employers that employees have to feel valued and that training and development opportunities/qualifications to enhance their career options can play a very important role in demonstrating value, which in turn increases retention and reduces turnover. Additional initiatives used to address turnover include: Attracting mothers who are returning to employment after raising their children Attracting more male employees to cleaning through role enhancement. It is now more socially acceptable for men to clean. Indeed, the entry of more men into cleaning occupations has been encouraged by the creation of floor teams using high powered electric machinery etc.
One of the main issues in trying to tackle recruitment and retention within the cleaning industry is thought to revolve around the development of a more attractive employment package for the industry and cleaning operatives in particular. “If you can offer people 40 hours a week, maybe not 9 – 5, but spread around shift working which is going to be less anti-social than the full nights that people tend to find themselves on and you can offer them that period of work with one employer on one site then you are going to go an awful long way to providing the sort of stability that is going to encourage people to invest in cleaning as a career”. The trend to make the cleaning jobs more attractive, particularly through combining jobs (i.e. cleaning with housekeeping) also has implications for the development of new skills and qualifications. The ADM believes that the results of these issues is that managers have to be increasingly creative and innovative in combining services and producing almost full time positions in order to attract appropriate staff. This is felt to be an important development. This not only involves increasing the number of hours, but also expanding the role. For example, to include other related tasks such as a housekeeping role, which makes the job more attractive to applicants. A lot of managers are now looking at how to combine jobs to make them more interesting. Similarly the move to day time cleaning will enable employers to develop more attractive employment packages and offer the possibility of careers within the industry. It is also considered that daytime cleaning will have wide ranging impact on the industry. For example, it will also require different types of equipment such as quieter machines that won‟t affect others whilst they work.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector Daytime cleaning is perceived by professional bodies/associations and employers to be a trend that is increasing within the industry in the UK. It does however appear to vary across the EU. In Sweden for example, daytime cleaning is seen as the norm. In Belgium it is not, where it is understood that the Belgian Cleaning Association is against it. There are considered to be a wide range of views on the issue. The CSSA indicated that there is emerging research in Canada on cleaning regimes in schools and their linkage to number of days off school suffered by pupils through coughs, colds, diarrhoea and vomiting. This emerging research appears to be indicating that daytime cleaning may be positively correlated with a reduction in numbers of days off sick by pupils. However, it is acknowledged that there is not a lot of research evidence on this to date. The logic behind this is because schools are being cleaned during the day, the potential for infection transmission is reduced. Whilst the research is not currently at publishable quality it is possible to demonstrate to clients that daytime cleaning is going to be of benefit, not just in terms of their relations with their cleaners, but in terms of internal productivity. It is considered that both of these issues could be a real selling point for daytime cleaning. “If you could make this case in relation to daytime cleaning then this would be the future of the cleaning industry”. There are a couple of factors that are perceived to be driving the trend towards daytime cleaning: 1. The clients of cleaning companies are now stating that they see value in having the cleaners in their offices during the day – the whole environment, including toilets being maintained and cleaned in a very visible way. 2. An attempt by the contractors to increase productivity and therefore increase the margins that the contractor is making, whilst at the same time being able to deliver a living wage and better terms and conditions. It also alleviates to some extent the difficulty that contractors have in filling certain types of shift pattern out of normal hours. In this regard there are felt to be two complimentary drivers. All the employers interviewed recognised the trend towards daytime cleaning and generally accepted that it was a good thing. The following represent some of the employer views on this issue: “I think it‟s probably pretty much in line with the market, just trying to find and retain good people. There‟s always quite a high level of turnover at service delivery level, particularly where the jobs are part-time and unsocial hours and so on. We‟re moving more and more to daytime cleaning and encouraging our customers to think about daytime cleaning which gives us a chance to make jobs more interesting and to give full time employment which helps to stabilise the turnover and attract people in to that kind of work”. “With daytime cleaning you stand the chance to attract people because of the better salary, etc, etc. I don‟t see there‟s any reason why you can‟t carry out day cleaning in offices and schools or anywhere. Because people aren‟t in offices all the time. To have a cleaner in for five minutes is no disruption at all. I think we‟ll all end up with a mixture because we have the areas where there isn‟t work for a full time cleaner and also you will lose the people who only want part-time work”.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “We‟ve had to change our whole outlook on daytime cleaning…we‟ve actually managed to employ cleaners for 20 hours or 25, or 30. So we‟ve got quite a lot of staff now working longer hours, not just the 15. And that has helped. I find you get a bit more loyalty from the full-timers, they see it more as a job rather than just a parttime cleaning job. I‟ve seen that happen. There‟s more importance attached to it from their eyes because they do more hours and earn so much more pay that they‟re more loath to lose it”. “There are no downsides to daytime cleaning. It‟s just getting the staff in the buildings to understand that a cleaner is the same as a joiner, plumber, electrician. They work about 9-5, why can‟t the cleaners? So we‟re just having to re-educate them. There‟s still this “oh you can‟t vacuum my room, it‟s too noisy”, and yet they‟ll have an electrician or something sitting drilling holes in the wall. So it‟s just trying to get them to understand that. We have got some battery-operated vacuums, we‟ve got some quieter equipment and machinery and that certainly helps”. “I can understand as an industry why we‟re moving towards it. Because hopefully what they‟re looking to do is give people full-time employment which means they‟ll be more stable, they‟ve got a constant income, they don‟t have to flit from site to site. So I can understand that”. However, some concerns were also expressed by employers: “One of the problems is that it doesn‟t give the client flexibility because some clients don‟t want their cleaners to be seen so some of them just will not buy it. If you‟re working in a bank or on the trading floor, the last thing you want is the cleaner running round when you‟re trying to do a deal. So you have to be careful in those scenarios”. “You‟re also getting a situation which we‟ve had recently where a client requested that all the day staff used walkie-talkies. The problem that we had is in the interview process we had to put down „command of the English language‟ as being a criteria”. “And the experience I‟ve found having been round some of our contracts, with day cleaning the building is not as clean as it would be if it was cleaned in the evening or at night”. It is also felt that it is important to recognise that daytime cleaning does not mean cleaning from 9-5. What does it mean then?! It does usually mean re-evaluating the whole cleaning process. For example, in terms of longer hours, changes in working practices etc?
9.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
BICSc believes that the issue for the development of skills for cleaning is that employers need short, sharp modules to quickly train cleaning operatives to undertake practical cleaning tasks in specific areas of cleaning activity and not necessarily generic NVQs for cleaning although there is some need (which they state is diminishing). BICSc state that cleaning is usually based on specifications that relate to particular types of cleaning i.e. car valeting, hospital cleaning, sanitary cleaning, etc and it is for these areas of cleaning that employers require specific training.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
Many employers appear to adopt an approach towards skill development and training that involves undertaking the minimum required to satisfy the requirement of a contract. As a consequence a lot of training is undertaken on site and often on the job. One large cleaning company involved in commercial cleaning and employing over 3,000 people commented: “There are some site-specific requirements, i.e. some sites require some of the managers/supervisors to be trained in first aid, manual handling, general stuff like that. Because although we can have people trained up all-singing, all-dancing, we find that it‟s not always a requirement of the contract which means that sometimes it‟s a waste of resource. I suppose we tend to fire-fight on that really. We train them as we need to, rather than train them prepared”. Another company commented on the employer approach to training and skill development: “It tends to be the companies that have to do it, do it. That‟s probably a bit of a generalisation. The cleaning industry goes from….probably the bulk of people employed in the cleaning industry are employed by very small companies. It‟s a very easy industry to start up in – low start up costs and one person alone or husband and wife team can make a reasonable living out of a small number of contracts. And they police that themselves and there‟s probably no great incentive to do that. When you get to the large cleaning companies, the OCSs, the ISSs, Rentokil, they will have pretty good in-house training themselves, but also they do tend to put people through the Institutes training courses because it looks good from the clients point of view”. One of the most significant areas highlighted by both professional bodies/associations and employers in relation to skill gaps concerned migrant workers. BICSc estimate that about 50% of people undertaking cleaning work in the UK are from overseas – Eastern Europe, etc. It is felt that many of these people are well educated. It is therefore felt that for this large group of cleaners the issue is not qualifications/skills, but: ESOL Work patterns The work environment in the UK (tax, laws, etc).
One contract cleaning company commented: “So we started off employing all local people in the main. But to be honest the work ethic and the reliability was a bit patchy. And then we had one lady who came for a job from Slovakia and she worked with us and was very good. And then when we had some vacancies she asked if we‟d mind…she had some friends… so it came that way really. So now in the hotels it‟s probably 60% East European and it‟s generally Lithuanians or Slovakians, and 40% local staff. But that changes”. It is clear that language skills are extremely important in relation to migrant workers and that the lack of these skills can create a major barrier to being able to communicate fully as well as understanding rules and regulations. According to one employer there is a programme called „Bridge to Employment‟ covering BICSc and ESOL which is aimed at generating a supply of willing and well trained staff. It is clear that contract cleaning companies attach a lot of importance to this area of skill development:
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
“One of the things we would like to do is offer ESOL classes because if people are working full-time we need to be able to build that in to their working day – break for an hour, do your ESOL course, build up your English and go from there. But it has to be buying from both sides”. “I think it‟s a significant issue for the future because if we‟re getting staff, say from Eastern European countries, not everybody‟s going to come with that command of English...Maybe a good worker but can‟t speak English very well. Is there no value?... – there‟s got to be value, in educating them while they work. There needs to be commitment from the client. Say someone‟s working an eight hour shift, okay they‟re entitled to their lunch but we need to say “look, give them half an hour, three quarters of an hour, once or twice a week to do an English class.” You get somebody to come into the site, they do their English language, and then they go back to work. And then hopefully you‟ll get a commitment from the staff because they can see that you‟re adding value to their life by giving them something that they would probably have had to pay for somewhere else plus have to use their own time to do it. We tried it a couple of years ago when an initiative came out, we worked through Merton College. And the initiative was that we had to put staff forward and the college via the LSC would pay back the time that the staff went to class”. “We do put people in touch with local ESOL providers; there are some training courses available. I did hear that there‟s a trial being done in Cardiff where they‟ve received funding to send people into the workplace to do the training which would be beneficial, apparently they can pay people whilst they‟re being trained as well”. The possibilities for ESOL training appear to be hopeful in relation to daytime cleaning, but cleaning companies stressed the need for the clients to buy in to the process. As one company commented: “But the client needs to buy in as well. I think the clients‟ attitude at the moment is they‟re not even sure about day cleaning. I think their first worry is - is their building going to get clean? Not necessarily if the staff can speak English”. Cleaning companies also highlighted other issues in relation to the provision of language training: “The problem was trying to get everybody together at the right time, there were a couple of scenarios where the tutor couldn‟t turn up, and logistically it was a nightmare. Because if you had people coming from six, seven different contracts it meant you had to phone round every single one and trying to fit into everybody‟s shift patterns”. The other significant trend within the industry that is also impacting upon skill needs is the increasing trend towards „daytime cleaning‟ within the cleaning industry. Because of this trend there is a growing need for new skills for cleaners, particularly in relation to customer care. In these circumstances the cleaning operative is going to be increasingly in a position to speak to customers to organise this type of cleaning activity. The importance of communication skills is increasing as roles are becoming more customer facing and employees will have to liaise with clients on a regular basis. In relation to customer care skills one company commented:
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “But increasingly because we‟re getting more and more contact with client‟s customers, and with clients to a degree (particularly in the hotels), we are looking for people who have perhaps some sort of customer service element to them, but we provide training in that, so that they can field an enquiry or field a complaint of some sort and if they can‟t deal with it themselves they know who to pass it on to”.
9.3 Basic skills
The CSSA consider that the basic skills agenda remains fundamentally important to the cleaning industry: “My personal view of the skills issues, such as they currently are is that they are much more related to basic skills, the three R‟s”. One large UK cleaning company commented: “A lot of people who work for us, and as I say, we‟re not different from anybody else in the industry, are unqualified or very poorly qualified. I was going to say I was horrified, but that‟s not really the right word as I guess it was kind of expected, but the number of staff who sat the initial course, when they did their initial assessments for the basic skills, the number of staff who were coming out Level 1 and below really shocked me”. At the cleaning operative level the main skill issues are also felt to be related to attitude and, in particular, the willingness of people to turn up on time. This is seen as an important employability skill. This is considered to be fundamental in determining whether someone can participate effectively in the workplace. A project on employability skills was completed in July 2006 by Asset Skills and a range of other SSCs within the sector. The outcome of this work is a range of „employability skills indicators‟, which employers require from new recruits to their workforce (see http://www.assetskills.org/site/ for more information). Sector specialists within Asset Skills believe that there is a work readiness gap especially amongst young people. Young people are perceived to lack time keeping skills and commitment to their work and it is considered that these skills need to be addressed in the 14 to 19 agenda. Other factors that are likely to have an impact on skill needs and gaps are: The combining of job roles in order to make positions more attractive, as this will have implications for the development of skills and qualifications. Changes in technology – cleaning is perceived to be very vulnerable to such changes.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
10. Cleaning Supervisors and Managers 10.1 Recruitment Difficulties
Within the cleaning industry the feedback from employers and professional bodies / associations indicates that a large proportion of cleaning supervisors and managers and recruited from within the industry. One public sector organisation commented: “The majority of our supervisors now have come from our cleaning force. We‟ve got a few that we‟ve advertised and collected that way but the majority come from cleaning staff. What we have done with some of the staff who‟ve shown an interest in supervision is we‟ve taken them through some BICSc courses, we‟ve taken them through what I would basically call our own in-house supervisors training so that by the time there‟s a vacancy coming up they‟ve got a fair bit of experience under their belt”. “Most of our supervisors and area managers would have been promoted from within and they would all have cleaning experience and have been involved in team working. We would again rarely have a formal qualification because in the cleaning industry it does not necessarily add up to a good supervisor. We recruit entirely from cleaners, and they have all been with us with the exception of about three, since 1994 and this has worked very well.” The research carried out in relation to the cleaning industry has not revealed any particular recruitment difficulties being experienced by cleaning companies. However, there is some evidence of retention difficulties within the market. This appears to be because supervisors are often promoted from cleaning operatives without the skills or training they need to be effective; they cannot handle the responsibility and will leave rather than be demoted back to a cleaner. As with supervisors, many managers find themselves in position without managerial training and skills and will leave rather than face demotion. It is considered that improved progression routes for managers are needed in order to attract and retain people at this level.
10.2 Skills Needs and Gaps
“We have a cleaner, she turns up for work every day for two years, she does her job, she does a good job, a supervisory vacancy comes available, she becomes a supervisor, she does her job as a supervisor for another twelve months really well. Suddenly there‟s an area manager‟s job become available and she gets that job. So possibly within a range of eighteen months, potentially, she‟s gone from being a cleaner, a good cleaner, to being an area manager. Suddenly looking after forty or fifty contracts, which could also include upwards of a hundred staff, and managing all the issues that go along with that and meeting clients, potentially winning or losing us business”. The training manager for a large UK cleaning company highlighted one of the „most obviously striking issues‟ that was identified on joining the company was that the company had people who we expected to manage the business with none or very little training or qualifications to do so.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector The research has indicated a number of supervisory skill development areas that are needed by the industry: Management and human resource training so they can deal with their teams effectively and appropriately. Problem solving skills in terms of resource allocation. Technical skills such as identifying and treating floors and selecting equipment. Communication and customer care skills.
“Because a lot of the time if you get a problem on a cleaning contract it‟s either that the correct methodology hasn‟t been communicated to the member of staff doing the job or the expectation of the customer is not in line with the methodology. And that‟s where the supervisors and the managers have a key role to try and marry the two up. Quite often you see that the customer‟s expecting something to be done a certain way, that has been communicated to the managers and then down to the supervisor, or directly to the supervisor, and it isn‟t then implemented to the people that are actually doing the work, and that‟s basically communication skills which is probably one of the key areas of supervisor‟s abilities”. BICSc believes that the key issue that the government has missed in looking at the cleaning industry is that they think that the activity of a cleaning contractor is to clean. Keith we‟ve not named interviewees elsewhere feels that this is simply the product and that the activity is to employ („hire and fire‟) and manage people. These are therefore the types of skills that need to be delivered to the industry but have sadly been lacking. BICSc consider that there are important issues around the skill needs of managers within the cleaning industry. In particular, it is considered that there is a need to develop „hard‟ people skills – who can deal with employing and releasing people, and managing people and their behaviour, so that companies get the best out of employees, in addition to the necessary project or contract management skills. “Newly promoted managers will often require management and leadership training to gain competence and confidence in their role as many have not had any previous experience of managing people or contracts; they have simply progressed through the ranks and often hold no qualifications”. Cleaning companies interviewed identified the need for generic management skills within the cleaning industry: “I think it‟s very, very important that people realise that there are generic management skills required within the industry. We‟ve spent far too long concentrating on operational issues like the best way to vacuum a floor or the best cloth to use, and what we‟ve actually missed is – how do we get this person from a cleaner to a manager?” Other areas of management skill development identified included: IT skills Project management skills as well as functional skills in numeracy and literacy Technical skills such as identifying and treating floors and selecting equipment. It is felt that these skills are particularly needed because many
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector managers are entering the industry through different routes (i.e. catering) rather than through the domestic management route. Managers need creative and innovative skills in combining services and producing almost full time positions in order to attract appropriate staff. This involves not only expanding the hours, but expanding the operative‟s role too. They also need change management and general management training
Area managers are considered to require a complete different set of skills to manage sets of teams across different locations such as contracting, negotiating, keeping records, motivating and using report systems. “…you have a certain area manager who has 40 contracts. 60% of their time they‟re sat in their car, 20% of the time they‟re on various sites, and the other 20% of the time is spent doing paperwork. So suddenly you‟ve got somebody who‟s never done anything like this before being expected to manage their time”. However, some cleaning companies doubted whether higher level management qualifications were needed: “Higher level for training for managers in relation to cleaning – no, probably because we are a relatively small organisation and therefore there is never going to be the need, particularly as we have a flat management structure. Area managers will have done some training such as dealing with difficult people and general management. BICSc training is undertaken, but not the certification process”. Other barriers to management training are perceived to exist within the contracting market: “Because the problem that you‟ve got is that you‟ve got the senior managers saying “why should we train these people who are only going to leave tomorrow?”, and you can‟t blame them for leaving because they can‟t see where they‟re going to go once they get the training”. OCS Group (UK) had experienced considerable difficulties in relation to the retention of supervisors and managers within the company. The case study set out below sets out what OCS Group (UK) did to address the situation and the benefits that a positive approach towards management training has had on the company.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
OCS Group (UK) “I‟m sure we‟re no different from any other large company in this industry, we were haemorrhaging staff at that level”. The company considered that they were experiencing retention difficulties for a number of reasons. In particular they felt they were expecting people to do far too much for the amount of money we were paying them and also the amount of training that they had received. From the company perspective it was commented: “Okay, these people know what they‟re doing operationally, they know how to vacuum the floor, they know how to mop, they know how to dilute chemicals, but do they know how to manage?” The company had talked with the LSC about the whole issue of supervisory first-level management training but did not feel the NVQ was going to meet the company‟s needs. As a result the company put a new course together: “So we initially put a course together called the Business Skills Initiative and we piloted that across the country to fifty of our first-level managers. And it was very, very successful. The outcomes were just phenomenal; the course also included embedded within it the government‟s basic Skills for Life literacy and numeracy level 2. So, not only were we getting something out of it, we were also seeking to help our staff in their personal and private lives”. The course was delivered by the college directly to OCS Group staff on site, and was about thirty-five hours long. It has now been developed further and in order to obtain national recognition the course is now awarded by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). The company is now running two management courses, the Introductory Level and a Full Supervisory Leadership Certificate (which is equivalent to a Level 3 NVQ) OCS Group emphasised the commitment required from staff to undertake this training: “…there‟s a lot of commitment required for these courses and although we are paying in that we are allowing people to go to the course, we‟re paying for catering, and we‟re paying costs where people don‟t meet the criteria, these staff have still got to put the hours in because this is the best part of 70 hour course, with external work required.” In relation to the outcomes from the management training OCS Group commented: “We‟ve had a massive impact in regards to retention of the staff that have been on the courses. We‟re now up to the best part of 150 managers having gone through the course.” “…one of our managers has now been taken from what was a service manager role, she‟s now in charge of the whole of Number 1 Canada Square, which has Canary Wharf Tower. Another one of the managers has gone from being a service manager to being in charge of our part of Buckingham Palace. “
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
11. Facilities Manager 11.1 Introduction
Most FM companies and professional bodies / associations interviewed as part of this research recognise that the Facilities Management (FM) industry is in a state of transition from being a new, relatively under utilised industry to becoming a professionalised industry, present in every business across both public and private sectors. As the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) 22 indicated: “FM is a new industry. The term Facilities did not really exist 20 years ago and people were generally employed as in-house providers/managers”. On the one hand the industry is young, dynamic and fast growing and on the other the industry lacks precise definition, is relatively immature and many individuals and organisations are not very clear where its boundaries lie. It is therefore not surprising that a wide range of views have been expressed by employers, professional associations /bodies and providers in relation to recruitment difficulties, skill needs and gaps, learning provision and qualifications relating to the role of a Facilities Manager. However, it does appear from extensive consultation across the industry that the need to clarify the role and status of the Facilities Manager and bring about the professionalisation of the industry is one aspect where all parties agree. As one leading FM company commented: “It is indeed critical to develop the role of the Facilities Manager and the professionalisation of the discipline has to be our most urgent priority” Due to differences, uncertainties and overlaps in the definition of specific jobs within the facilities management industry the title of „Facilities Manager‟ should be deemed to encompass all the roles a manager in the sector performs with regard to the management of more than one service in a building(s) 23.
11.2 Recruitment Difficulties
“The market at the moment is incredibly vibrant, (there is) a lot of movement in the market as people are either outsourcing or contracting out. That means that people are crossing the boundary of client to supplier or invariably later on their career, from supplier back into client… It appears to be growing as companies concentrate on their core business and perhaps have not had a facilities department before and are creating one and that is fuelling the market both on the client side and on the supply side.”
The BIFM represents the interests of those who practice facilities management and those who work in organisations supplying facilities management related products or services. 23 It should be noted that the new SIC class (81.10 Combined facilities support activities), which will be introduced in 2007/8, includes the provision of operating staff to perform a combination of support services within a client's facilities. Units classified here typically provide a combination of services, such as general interior cleaning, maintenance, trash disposal, guard and security, mail routing, reception, laundry and related services to support operations within facilities. These units provide operating staff to carry out these support activities, but are not involved with or responsible for the core business or activities of the client.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
However, it is not perceived by BIFM that these trends are leading to any particular areas of recruitment difficulty. This is because BIFM do not see the management and senior management areas as a particular problem because people undertaking management roles at this level within an organisation have transferable skills. BIFM believe the gaps relate more to the assistant/junior levels: “The biggest difficulty is filling the gap at the lower and junior end. People move into facilities very often as a second career (i.e. engineer, surveyor, customer care or front of house management). As people realise that FM is a career there is perceived to be a gap left at the assistant/junior level”. This is seen by BIFM as the main development in relation to recruitment/training that has occurred over the past 2/3 years. Replacing people at the lower level is seen as the key issue so that they start to feed through into middle and senior management in the short to medium term. The research has also revealed that recruitment difficulties are also linked to the lack of access for people with qualifications lower than level 3 and younger individuals. There were barriers reported by the Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team with regard to the progression of workers with level 1 and 2 qualifications into management. In addition, the Facilities Management Association (FMA) 24 believes that there is generally a lack of quality advice and training given to new entrants to the industry. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)25 stated that it is estimated that there are 5-10% of organisations with a skill shortage, especially in the senior occupational roles. “The image of FM has completely changed over the past 5-10 years. Earlier it was considered to be a low level job… Now thinking has changed especially in the UK… It is being considered as a strategic position in many organisations”. The BIFM has a different view on the timeframe within which FM has been considered as a strategic role within companies in the UK, but it is clear that such changes have taken place in the last 20 years: “Despite the historically poor image of FM, from the mid-1980s some major organisations in the UK were already trail-blazing the way and got FM on the strategic agenda, for which there are many well-documented case studies”. The CIOB perceives that there are significant gaps in management and senior management roles in FM and that these shortages are expected for the next few years. In relation to recruitment the FMA commented: “We see an ever decreasing pool of suitable people at all levels.”
The FMA is The Facilities Management Association (FMA) is a representative trade body for employers engaged in delivering non core services in the FM sector. 25 The CIOB is a membership organisation for building professionals and as a Chartered Institute represents a large body of knowledge concerning the management of the total building process.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “FMA members are currently looking for senior people and they do not appear to be able to find them. In the main this is because they do not have the requisite skill sets. This is perceived to be a key area of need”. The main areas where FMA member organisations have highlighted areas of recruitment difficulty including the following: General management Commercial management, particularly on the financial side Strategic and forward thinkers
A particular issue in relation to recruitment of such managers is felt to be the eclectic nature of the skills required. Even if MBA qualified, the FMA believes that there is still a wide range of skills to gain an understanding and appreciation of. This is felt to represent a considerable challenge for the industry. The main recruitment issue for BSA26 members is getting hold of skilled staff. This can be „blue collar‟ skilled staff or management, particularly middle management. The main reason for the recruitment difficulties is seen to be the changes in the FM market that have taken place in recent years: “The market has exploded, particularly in the last 5-6 years”. This is perceived to be one of the reasons why there are recruitment difficulties in relation to management. As contracts have become „bigger and better‟ there has not been a legacy of trained managers within the industry who could cope with the recent growth of the sector. From the employer interviews undertaken, the recruitment of Facilities Managers appears to have been difficult for companies operating within the industry. These recruitment difficulties appear to exist for a number of related reasons including a lack of awareness of the sector, unclear role, poorly defined career pathways, relatively small labour pool, low profile of the sector and lack of access routes to progression within the industry. Not all companies interviewed experience difficulties in recruiting Facilities Managers and the extent of recruitment difficulties is clearly impossible to determine through qualitative research. However, it is possible to outline further the issues that FM companies and professional bodies identified as being responsible for the recruitment difficulties that are believed to exist. The research has revealed a perception that the public and media are not familiar with what FM is or what it means in terms of specific occupations. It does appear that the visibility and profile of the FM industry generally appears to be an issue. In this regard the FMA commented: “It‟s a bit of an iceberg is FM” (in that only a small part of the work is visible). Companies have also commented on the profile of the sector:
The BSA (the Business Services Association) is the advocate of major companies providing outsourced services in the UK, across Europe and world-wide.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “I think the world in general undervalues FM…. Because it‟s an invisible service isn‟t it? If you are doing a brilliant job, you‟re invisible. Because everything would happen smoothly, nothing would ever break down, your toilets would always be clean, there‟d be a smiley person on reception and they‟d never be sick, nobody would think about it. They only notice it when something goes wrong, and then they‟re critical about it. I think it‟s a career that people go into later in life; it‟s not a career that school-leavers go into. It‟s not sexy”. The CIOB stated that they believed that FM has an image problem with a great deal of uncertainty about what FM actually is and the actual status of the industry. The BIFM also recognise that the profile of the profession needs to be developed: “FM needs to achieve the same leap in profile that HR (CIPD) and purchasing (CIPS) has achieved”. However, a major problem for the industry is felt to relate to the fact it is broadly unknown, particularly outside the sector specific media. “There is very little known about Facilities Management in the wider press”. This is not to imply that different elements that constitute FM are not highly visible within an organisation. Many of the individual services that constitute FM – cleaning, security, health and safety – have a significant impact on employees. The point made by certain professional bodies / associations and employers is that the FM service as an industry does not have a profile that is widely known or understood. It is recognised that recruitment difficulties also arise because FM is a young industry whose profile is not currently high, but developing. It is considered that improvements in the profile of the industry will result in the attraction of the right calibre of FM. “In the first place what our members want are future senior managers, because without those the industry will not flourish. So we are going to universities and colleges and providing them with occupational profiles for the industry”. Raising the profile of the FM industry appears to be a fundamental issue for the FM industry. It is worth noting that the FMA do not believe that FM has reached Board level (in terms of representation). In order to address perceived recruitment difficulties the FMA have produced a video aimed at careers advisors at Universities which is endorsed by Sir Digby Jones with regards to the significance of FM. The BSA also thought the industry has an image problem and that it was not seen as particularly attractive. In particular, the reputation of the sector is seen as being generally „blue collar‟ companies rather than a dynamic, fast growing industry. Other companies working in the industry also recognise that there are different perceptions about Facilities Managers:
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “Recruitment is a problem because…there is no consensus on what an FM is. My experience has been that FMs have in the past come from men (only men) who grew up “on the tools”. These people, now over 50, have a limited working lifespan and frequently limited skills; the job has changed to be more management and customer services. Two of my best recent recruits have actually come from a military background, used to marshalling resources. Some of the worst FMs I have seen have come from hands on services such as cleaning. “Contracting organisations” have in some cases a poor image and this is often because their managers are former operatives, without the wider skills needed, and hence these companies do not attract the brightest and best… We desperately need a clear profession, career path and qualifications to solve these problems”. Recruitment is not helped by the fact that the actual „role‟ of a Facilities Manager can vary significantly according to the particular nature of the working environment. As one member of the Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team commented: “As a Facilities Manager you could have worked in the industry for 10 years but in a new workplace in a different firm you may find you cannot do any of the jobs they ask for.” It was further stated that companies often come up with their own titles to make the job different and attractive to potential candidates. This lack of clarity about the industry is also reflected in what is regarded by companies as an unclear career pathway for managers. This was demonstrated further when the CIOB undertook a search of all job advertisements for three months in relation to a Facilities Manager. The CIOB commented that: “This analysis showed that the majority of jobs advertised included a requirement for RICS, CIOB or BIFM qualifications and that employers are not always sure of what to ask for”. The industry is also perceived to have a fluid career structure. Undoubtedly the difficulty in relation to precisely defining the occupations within FM (and for that matter the industry as whole) is in part because it is such a new and dynamic industry, which is still evolving. “Well, recent surveys showed there were over 2,000 job descriptions (in FM), which is ridiculous in fact. But nobody ever comes to FM directly, nobody just falls into FM, well they do fall into FM because there is no career path for it, as such…So it‟s (FM) a hybrid, there‟s no doubt about it”. The BIFM do not consider that the large number of job titles relating to FM is the main issue and that functionality is more important. The example highlighted by BIFM is the health service where there may be job titles such as hospital engineer and modern matron fulfilling an FM role. However, there appears to be little doubt that the perception and understanding of the role of a FM is not helped by the large number of different job titles associated with the role. One FM company commented that the Facilities Management industry would need to develop the following career paths: from a school leaver/graduate in unrelated discipline from a customer service discipline 42
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector from a technical discipline from a business management discipline
Leading FM companies have developed their own career paths by using grading systems linked to skill requirements and other factors: “We‟ve got a grading system within the business that goes from 1-9. Once you‟re at 10 you‟re dictating policy to God. And 10 is the MD. 9 is the Chief Operating Officer. 8 are Directors. But how do you get there, how do you go from one grade to the next, how do you move up the ladder? So we are looking for certain skills and we put together a matrix of that based on the 20 competencies of the BIFM. If someone wants to go from say a 4 to a 5, which is from a supervisor to a manager position they have to go through a certain level of training and also recommendations to be able to get to that level. If you want to get to a Directors role then we‟re looking at a lot higher level skills”. . The CIOB also perceived that the development of FM as a career is still in its early stages and not that well established yet. It was also recognised that people are coming into the industry from varied backgrounds. However, the BIFM do not perceive that there are particular barriers to career development within the FM industry. This is felt to be because FM covers such a wide spectrum and because traditionally people come in as a second career. “Often people have followed a fairly traditional career path, but outsourcing has changed roles and responsibilities (i.e. from client side to supplier). This in turn has created a whole range of career opportunities. In this regard facilities was/is often seen as a peripheral activity to the core business, whereas within a contracting organisation it is the main purpose and a range of opportunities for progression exist”. The BIFM believes that the issue is sometimes getting people to appreciate the opportunities that do exist: “People in contracting organisations have always used the career ladder and career opportunity either within their organisation or to use their transferable skill to go and work for another contracting organisation. The „silver tops‟ within the industry… I often say that people don‟t retire these days they become consultants” The BIFM recognise that the picture within FM is very fluid in terms of career progression and that career progression paths are not narrowly defined within the industry. However, it is felt that there is a very broad spectrum of career opportunity and that people who realise this can actually progress within the industry in a wide variety of ways. There appears to be general agreement that people tend to „migrate‟ into Facilities Manager positions after working in other industries such as cleaning, the armed forces, retail and leisure, hotel management and other „front of house‟ activities. Many of these people are considered by organisations such as the BIFM to be bringing with them a new approach to customer care within the FM market. Another aspect of recruitment difficulty highlighted was the small labour pool from which a specific calibre of manager can be recruited. This may indeed be a reason why FM, as an expanding industry, is attracting people from other industries.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector It is also perceived that employers are now making considerable efforts to retain staff in general and that this may well be linked to perceived and actual recruitm ent difficulties. These mainly involve making terms and conditions of employment more favourable and it was stated by the FMA that as a result of these policies some FM companies now have attrition rates of 5% or lower. There is also a perception from employers that the there is a serious gender imbalance within the industry, which is likely to have a serious impact on recruitment. As one company commented: “We have very few women in the sector and this has to be addressed”. However, the BIFM has indicated that they perceived the situation is changing: “Although traditionally there have been few women in FM, this has been noticeably changing over the last 5 years”. However, this is not to imply that FM is necessarily any different to many other industries which also suffer, to some degree from gender imbalance.
11.3 Skills Needs and Gaps
A range of skills gaps and needs have been highlighted by interviewees in relation to Facilities Managers as part of the research process. However, these skill needs and gaps are often also generic to other sectors. Customer service and communication - Having the ability to read situations, clients and customers. Being able to build relationships and ensure messages get through in the workplace. Linked to this is the management of ICT workers (as an increasingly important aspect of FM) and internal email. One FM company commented:
“Because an awful lot of it is people skills. No matter what you do, unless you‟re a night cleaner in somewhere that shuts at night, you are going to meet the people in the office, the public; here they come across the students all the time. I will tell every person who works for me that their job is important because it genuinely is. All I want them to do is do their job to the best of their ability. We need to recruit people who have communication skills and can deal with the angry, lost, sick, whatever. Because they‟re going to have to do that at some stage”. Supervisory skills - Regarding the motivation of staff and specific skills in reducing absenteeism. Management and Leadership
The Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team highlighted a number of skill needs and gaps: o Managers need to assess how the industry interfaces with the public sector (e.g. The NHS or local government) and how these areas work together
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector o o Individuals always possess management skills in relation to tasks but there needs to be more of a difference between this and the management of people The need for more knowledge in the procurement of services. Whilst the BIFM acknowledge the need for more knowledge of procurement they believe that:
“The big problem with many procurement departments is that they refuse to involve the FM, and therefore deliver FM contracts that are unsatisfactory from the FM perspective”. o Managing a variety of services, budgets, resources and crises is a skill in itself and increasingly requires more innovative and strategic thinkers
The CIOB indicated that skills gaps in FM particularly related to: Communications Procurement IT
In relation to IT one leading FM company commented: “One of the big things we found very early on when I took over was that we needed to upskill our people in terms of IT skills. The (training) academy is two years old now; we concentrated a lot on IT training initially, that was quite successful in fact. And we‟ve retained a lot of people”. One of the skills development areas from the BIFM perspective relates to management training at different levels. Core management competences are assessed on all three routes of the BIFM Qualification and BIFM Training has introduced Senior FM briefings for example, ”Engaging with the CEO” through management briefings so that FM managers can start to learn Boardroom language and how to engage with the CEO. Because of the insights gained by BIFM through the provision of in-house training it is considered that many individuals who are on the periphery of the company‟s core business may miss out not only on the core FM skills training they also miss out particularly on the management training. “If you are working for an organisation that, say, is a bank. If you are in finance you get excellent personal skill development training, but if you are in a facilities group that bank does not see that you need those skills. But, of course, facilities is a management discipline. People need to know how to contract manage, how to negotiate, how to develop their own personal skills. There is a huge gap in that area”. Although true in many cases, there are clear exceptions to the above. For example, two of the largest banks in the UK invest a lot of time and money in training FMs. However, there is nevertheless considered to be an important management skills gap in relation to those facilities management personnel that are not seen as „core business‟ within their organisation. This is believed to relate to basic FM training, but also personal skills training.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
More specific skills needs highlighted related specifically to knowledge of legislation and associated compliance. BIFM consider that the government‟s insistence on compliance is perceived to be causing real consternation to employers in keeping up to date and abreast of legislation and associated compliance issues. The BSA also considered that the FM industry is faced with ever increasing standards and requirements, which has had significant implications in skill development and training activity. This also accords with the research outcomes undertaken in respect of property managers within the surveying profession. Examples of government legislation and regulation that have an impact on the role of an FM include Fire responsibilities - Legislation has ensured that these are now part of the premises managers‟ role, but that automatically assumes all premises managers are going to understand all the detail like the fire alarms systems which identify the fire and compartmentation via doors and windows. Health and safety or employment law - there is a lot out there but Facilities Managers are not always thought to know the law on matters such as health & safety or manual handling. However, it has also been pointed out by BIFM that large numbers of FMs undertake a range of highly detailed NEBOSH and IOSH Health & Safety training leading to QCA recognised qualifications in this area.
It appears that some of the specific skill needs highlighted also emphasised a more technical role for Facilities Managers. The BSA and FMA also highlighted the need for technical skills training for managers, commenting on what was considered to be “a deficiency of technical skills within existing management within the industry”. In this regard management training was not generally considered to have a sufficiently high technical content. However, like the BIFM, many employers stressed the importance of the management role and associated skills: “The role for me is not one involving a technical specialism in air conditioning, or even health and safety. It is one of management and customer services. Procurement standards are abysmal, people management is poor, while customer service is the “Cinderella” side of FM. I would caution against introducing too much technical knowledge – health and safety is a hugely specialist area for example, but …what is required is training in how to pull all these things together. Most of the skills are generic to management – the technical side can be learned. Someone with a qualification in business/management could become an excellent FM, so it might be useful to look at the skills and competencies in these areas. Fundamentally, an FM is managing valuable assets and making decisions which affect a company‟s bottom line”. The FMA believes that management training, which meets the needs of industry, should be an area of priority. In terms of future skills needs the following have also been highlighted by the Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team:
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector “Changes to legislations in the future27 – Energy ratings are at the moment almost voluntary. If all buildings have to be energy neutral in the future there could be huge impacts. To start people don‟t know what their energy rating is, what their carbon footprint is etc… so this needs to be incorporated into provision. CIBSE and Asset Skills are working on this shortly”. Future urban developments - The developments in London like the Thames Gateway and other areas in the South East and the Olympics will see an auction of quality staff. Managers will need to tap into this and be attracted to FM.
It should be noted that the skill needs and gaps highlighted by employers, professional bodies and associations within this section is not intended to imply that there is currently no provision in these areas. The commentary above simply reflects the issues that have been raised. For example, in relation to fire responsibilities, BIFM provide a one-day 'Fire Regulations and Risk Assessments' course. A range of providers provide short course health and safety provision.
It needs to be emphasised that there is a wide range of legislation and regulation that impacts upon the role of an FM and that energy ratings are just one example quoted by the Asset Skills Employer Engagement Team
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
As a result of extensive consultation undertaken with employers and professional bodies / associations ten priority occupations have been identified within the Asset Skills sector. The analysis carried out in this report reveals a range of recruitment and retention difficulties as well as skill needs and gaps that relate to each of the following priority occupations: 1. Housing Managers 2. Housing Development Staff 3. Chartered Surveyors 4. Home Inspectors 5. Estate Agents 6. Block Managers 7. Town Planners 8. Cleaning Operatives 9. Cleaning Supervisors / Managers 10. Facilities Managers It is therefore possible to draw conclusions in relation to the main areas that should be the focus of future action by Asset Skills.
12.1 Housing managers
Although it is apparent that there is a shortage of suitably qualified and experienced housing managers it does appear that recruitment difficulties are particularly pronounced in the south east of England, reflecting a north-south divide in the housing recruitment market. Some these housing management skills shortages are likely to be in increasingly specialised management activities (i.e. in relation to supported housing). There also appears to be an increasing demand and emphasis on the development of more generic managers within housing organisations. The analysis of skill gaps in relation to housing management also pointed to very generic skill needs in terms of: Management and leadership (particularly in relation to change management) Cross sector skills: business management and planning, partnership working, technical skills, entrepreneurial skills, IT, performance management, financial skills, etc.
12.2 Housing development staff
There appear to be difficulties in recruiting across a range of occupational areas within housing organisations, particularly project management and surveying skills, with respect to development activities. There also appear to be difficulties in recruitment to the strategic enabling roles undertaken within both local authorities and larger housing associations.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector Skills gaps in relation to housing development work include a mix of technical skills in construction /surveying as well as managerial competencies to run projects effectively (i.e. negotiation and arbitration skills). Skill gaps in relation to housing development staff include housing strategy (strategic enabling roles, co-ordinating, partnership working etc.) and specific skills relating to the creation and implementation of ALMO‟s. The CIH has recognised the need for higher level specialist qualifications for development staff.
12.3 Chartered surveyors
It appears likely that the recruitment difficulties currently being experienced in relation to Chartered Surveyors are likely to be exacerbated by the ageing workforce in the profession In this context there is also a clear need to encourage more young people into the industry and attract more women into the profession. Employers have reported skills gaps existing between the academic knowledge obtained through HE and the reality of working in the profession. There is therefore a constant need to refresh and develop skills of new recruits in line with actual surveying practice. In this regard there appear to be particular difficulties being experienced by surveyors in being able to mentor new recruits without prejudicing fee earning activity. There is some evidence to suggest that there continues to be a „business management deficit‟ in the property/real estate side in surveying and that managers, directors and partners often lack the necessary business skills.
12.4 Home Inspectors
In the light of the government announcement that the production of a Home Condition Report (HCR) by licensed Home Inspectors would not be introduced when HIPs became mandatory in June 2007 it is clearly important that opportunities within the surveying profession are provide for the 4,000+ individuals who have invested time and money to become registered with ABBE as Home Inspectors. Providing Home Inspectors with clear progression routes to professional status appears to be an important option that needs to be further explored for several reasons, not least because of the recruitment difficulties being experienced in relation to Chartered Surveyors.
12.5 Estate Agents
Employers and professional bodies interviewed generally did not indicate that there were any particular recruitment difficulties within Estate Agency and that the focus of attention should be on skill development and training within the industry. It is generally considered that many estate agencies, particularly smaller establishment, do not have a good history of training and that many employees are operating without the correct skills and knowledge.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector Management skills gaps were the most frequently highlighted skills gaps within estate agency. Proprietors, directors and managers especially need to be able to market themselves effectively, develop a business strategy and exercise skills in management and leadership. However, the main area where skill gaps were identified was in relation to business understanding and the practical application of knowledge to develop and build a business. Good negotiators are often promoted to team leaders without any management training. At a lower level, negotiating skills and IT skills were the skills gaps most highlighted. Skills in communication, negotiation and tendering are considered to be lacking by employers across the whole profession. A perception still appears to exist within the industry that estate agents lack formal qualifications.
12.6 Block Managers
Residential managing agents have experienced considerable difficulties in recruiting quality block managers into the sector and there is considered to be a shortage of suitably skilled people in the labour market. It is estimated that new developments will increase the requirement for 100 -150 additional qualified property managers and their related support staff each year. The main knowledge needs identified are to keep up with the enormous amount of direct and indirect legislation that impacts on the activities of this sector and customer focus and communication.
12.7 Town Planners
The research findings have indicated severe recruitment difficulties in relation to planning. The skills shortages in relation to qualified planners are also something that has been consistently highlighted by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The RTPI has also indicated that there is a need for much more specific training and skill development in specialist areas of planning that go considerably beyond more general planning provision. There is also perceived to be a need for the generic skills that Egan outlined in terms of negotiation, brokerage, leadership and management. The RTPI also believes that there are considerable gaps in these areas, which are born out by the results of the membership survey which investigated the need for a range of different generic skills including: communication (public speaking) conflict resolution leadership strategic thinking project management
In addition there is believed to be much more need for knowledge and skills around finance and development finance for planners.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector
12.8 Cleaning Operatives
Recruitment is seen by some employer organisations as an issue within the industry, particularly because of the: increased competition from supermarkets relatively low pay associated with the cleaning industry and the recruitment difficulties being experienced. Difficulty in filling part time positions Problems with benefits, which is a huge disincentive to work. Anti-social work hours are also difficult to recruit for as they cannot fill shift patterns;
However, there are mixed views on the extent to which the cleaning industry faces recruitment difficulties in relation to cleaning operatives. This is because it is considered that employers can get hold of as much foreign labour as needed. There is general agreement on the fact that turnover represents a significant problem for the industry. Retention rates within the cleaning industry are notoriously poor. Private sector cleaning contractors often have turnover rates between 50-100%. A number of skill gaps were highlighted by employers within the Cleaning Industry including
Technical Skills. Information Technology. Basic Skills (Literacy, numeracy, ESOL and Skills for Life). Employability skills. Communication skills.
One of the most significant areas highlighted by both professional bodies/associations and employers in relation to skill gaps concerned migrant workers, which appears to be a significant issue for the cleaning industry.. BICSc estimate that about 50% of people undertaking cleaning work in the UK are from overseas – Eastern Europe, etc. It is felt that many of these people are well educated. It is therefore felt that for this large group of cleaners the issue is not qualifications/skills, but: ESOL Work patterns The work environment in the UK (tax, laws, etc).
Changes in technology are likely to continue to impact on skill needs and gaps.
12.9 Cleaning Supervisors and Managers
The research carried out in relation to the cleaning industry has not revealed any particular recruitment difficulties being experienced by cleaning companies in relation to supervisors and managers. However, there is some evidence of retention difficulties within the market. This appears to be because supervisors and managers are often promoted from cleaning operatives without the skills or training they need to be effective; they cannot handle the responsibility and will leave rather than be
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector demoted back to a cleaner. Most cleaning supervisors and managers are recruited from within the industry. People within the cleaning industry are expected to supervise staff and manage the business with none or very little training or qualifications to do so. The research has indicated a number of supervisory and management skill development areas that are needed by the industry: Management and human resource training so they can deal with their teams effectively and appropriately. Problem solving skills in terms of resource allocation. Technical skills such as identifying and treating floors and selecting equipment. Generally gaps in cleaning science Communication and customer care skills. IT skills Project management skills Literacy and numeracy at senior level, Gaps in and health and safety
The are a number of case study examples of the benefits that a positive approach towards management training has had on cleaning companies, particularly in terms of staff retention.
12.10 Facilities Managers
Whilst it is recognised that the facilities management market is relatively buoyant there are mixed views on the nature and extent of recruitment difficulties within the industry. The biggest difficulty is seen by the British Institute of Facilities Managers as filling the gap at the lower and junior end so that experienced facilities mangers start to feed through into middle and senior management in the short to medium term. By contrast other organisations have highlighted areas of recruitment difficulty at a management level including: General management Commercial management, particularly on the financial side Strategic and forward thinkers
These recruitment difficulties appear to exist for a number of related reasons including: A lack of awareness of the sector. It does appear that the visibility and profile of the FM industry generally appears to be an issue. Raising the profile of the FM industry appears to be a fundamental issue. The unclear role of the facilities manager and little apparent consensus on what a facilities manager is. This is not helped by the large number of different job titles associated with the role. Poorly defined career pathways and fluid career structure. A relatively small labour pool.
Priority occupations in the Asset Skills sector A range of skills gaps and needs have been highlighted by interviewees in relation to Facilities Managers as part of the research process. However, these skill needs and gaps are often also generic to other sectors. Customer service and communication ICT Supervisory skills Management and Leadership o Management of people o The need for more knowledge in the procurement of services o Managing a variety of services, budgets and resources
More specific skills needs highlighted related particularly to knowledge of legislation and associated compliance (for example in relation to fire responsibilities, health and safety and employment law).