The IFM community — Intelligence for Maintenance was founded to bring FM and maintenance professionals together and provide them with valuable insights that could help them improve. It was with this in mind that we conducted research to produce our new FM & Maintenance Compensation and Salary Report. We decided to launch a series of interviews to compliment the research.
In this interview, we spoke with Ben Yexley, a prominent member of IFM, to learn about his perspective and experience.
Tell us a bit about your professional journey. Why did you decide to join the IFM community?
I joined askporter a year ago, having worked for a number of property technology companies over the last 10 years.
This career change meant a new focus on the wider asset management industry, so joining the IFM community is as much a journey of learning and personal growth as it is exploring the FM network space.
We joined the London IFM event in March of this year and were really impressed to see how open the network is in sharing best practices, learning from each other’s challenges and successes.
What motivates you to be an active part of the IFM community? What is, in your opinion, the greatest benefit of being an IFM member?
As a supplier to the FM industry, it’s important that we are part of the community to hear what the challenges being faced are, what solutions are beneficial, and how trends in the industry are moving.
Talking directly to our customers gives us a great sense of what they need and what issues they face. However being part of a larger community provides balance and a wider perspective, helping us make better business decisions.
Askporter’s aim is to enable better management of physical assets, whether that’s properties, offices, hotels, security systems or air conditioning units. With the term ‘asset’ being so diverse, it’s important we engage in diverse communities to understand and hopefully be part of the future of asset management.
The study on salaries and benefits in the FM and maintenance sector is a relevant initiative. What made you participate and contribute to the development of this report?
I believe the salaries and benefits report is an important addition to the wider picture of the FM industry.
We are all aware that there’s a growing labour shortage, and hiring great service providers, engineers and general staff in the FM industry is becoming increasingly challenging. With this shortage there’s an increase in competition leading to salaries increasing.
However, whether this is increasing at the same rate as the contract values of the FM operators and FM companies employing these staff members is unknown. My instinct tells me that with increasing numbers of FM companies, and the amount of FM work growing slower, there’s more competition for these contracts.This is perhaps driving the fee achieved downward.
As you can imagine with a downward trajectory of contract value and an increase in costs for these businesses, reduction in profit may be inescapable.
We as a technology business in the industry are hoping to aid two-fold:
1. Help these businesses compete for great contracts, by adding value to their proposition and remove operational challenges of handling more work, and creating more opportunities around the clock.
2. Enabling FM service providers and operators to do a more efficient job, improving first time fix rates, making sure work orders/tasks are diagnosed and the engineers have what they need to do a great job and impress their customers.
Throughout your career, have you ever faced any particular challenges related to compensation and salary benchmarking? If so, how have you dealt with them?
Since starting my career I’ve been involved in property and asset management as a sector, and the challenges I’ve faced will sound similar to what other business owners/managers and employees have faced in the industry.
While working for cutting edge companies who are aware of and focussing on delivering value add solutions, there’s a business-wide focus on doing things ‘differently,’ more efficiently and overall, better than competitors. Once a business is able to do this and therefore command higher fees for the work they do, hiring becomes easy, and compensation for staff is competitive.
As I’m sure we all witnessed as work slowed down during the pandemic, markets slowed, and the competition to innovate and do things differently grew. Salary benchmarks and fixed salaries/packages became more normal and challenging for the employee to navigate and benefit from.
My personal advice is to make the company’s overall aims part of your planned work as an employee. If you as a team/as a department are delivering and improving your service, output, quality or value you make a business decision easier to justify more competitive compensation and benefits.
During the last Facilities Show in London, hiring was mentioned as one of the main current challenges in the industry. How do you believe this salary and benefits report could help address this issue?
Industry research and reports are incredibly useful tools for both businesses hiring and candidates on the job hunt.
Out of these reports benchmarks, role profiles can be formed. As an employee, if you know what qualifications and experience you need, you can work towards those or apply for the roles you know you’ll be actively considered for. This will hopefully expedite the process. It also helps you plan your career. With or without your employer’s help, work towards the qualifications and experience you need to take the next step or make sure you’re a continued valued member of the team.
For companies planning budgets and costs to create mid to long term plans, understanding the trends in the industry can be incredibly useful. Of course, under budgeting for roles can lead to hiring taking much longer, while overpaying can eat into profits and in the worst case scenario lead to the company making a loss.
In your opinion, how do you think this report can benefit other professionals in the FM and maintenance sector? What impact do you believe it will have on the IFM community as a whole?
To reuse an overused phrase, knowledge is power. I think it’s really important that this report is a wide cross section of the FM community, not only in the diversity of roles but also that the report covers multiple countries and geographies.
This reflects what the IFM and other communities in the industry are here to do, share knowledge and information so that everyone within the industry can make better decisions, learn and understand more about the industry and share to improve as a whole.
As global markets shift, external pressures move and change, it’s important to take stock and look at where we are today to inform and guide our future plans and how we adapt to the aforementioned challenges.
We thank our members of IFM for sharing their valuable perspectives and experiences on this FM & Maintenance Compensation and Salary Report. Together, we strengthen the industry towards a more robust future for all FM and maintenance professionals.