A look at Facilities Management jobs in SA
Interested in facilities management jobs on Job Mail? You are in luck! Today we take a closer look at what facilities management is, what the job requires and what a facilities manager in South Africa can expect to earn.
What is facilities management?
A diverse and ever-changing field, facilities management is a career that focuses on doing what is necessary to provide a building or work environment that is conducive to the key objectives of the organisation working within it.
Facilities manager jobs entail negotiating the needs of a space with the needs and wants of people. The definition is quite inexplicit, but that is a good thing. It is a broad field that encompasses skills from arenas such as project and property management, finance, environmental sustainability, operations, quality management, and many others.
As a facilities manager, you must be ready to tackle a diverse range of challenges, be flexible, and ready to adapt to fit many needs. Are you up for the task?
What does a facilities manager do on a day to day basis?
There is not quite a clear picture of an “average day” for a facilities manager. On any given day, one may have to interact with a range of different people from government safety officials, to office administration staff. A day’s big task can range from as small as ensuring that each and every bathroom has toilet paper to ensuring that the layout of a building renovation is up to safety codes while maintaining the architectural design that the client requested.
Professionals working in facilities manager jobs may hold one of the following job titles: Head of Property, Projects and Facilities Manager, Head of Facilities, Workplace Services Manager, Area Facilities Manager, etc.
You may have seen some of these titles before. The wide range of titles just shows how broad of a job this really is. Facilities managers may work for their own company or within an organisation holding the responsibilities of the one building in which they work.
A lot of the work that a professional in this field decides that needs to be done is outsourced, and this means contracts. This means that, in order to be successful in facilities management jobs, you must be able to negotiate, secure, and oversee many contracts with cleaning, landscaping, construction, and many other types of companies in order to keep a building not only running smoothly, but to adapt it to the standards of the organisations and people working within it.
Should someone working within one of the buildings you are managing decide that it would work better if there were glass walls in an effort towards a more collaborative team, you would take on the project fully upon receiving the request, and it is his or her job to carry out the request from start to finish by inspecting the area, contracting the company to install the glass within the organisation’s budget, coordinating the best day and time for the installation without disturbing the organisation, managing the billing of all parties, all the while keeping the organisation abreast and managing any other properties he or she may have!
Note though that facilities management does not entail fulfilling every whim of a client. Facilities managers must negotiate between what is necessary in the long term and what is feasible in the short term to maximize the property’s value.
Some tasks that you may complete during a day as a facilities manager include: preparing contracts, responding to a building issue call, working with inspectors, reading up on health and safety codes, surveying a new building or plot of land, working with an architect on a future building development for a client, balancing financial budgets, and hiring security teams for a catered event in one of your buildings. This list could go on and on!
In which industries do facilities managers work?
Facilities managers are needed in any industry that needs a place to work – most! In terms of industry expertise, facilities mangers work mostly in the spaces of hospitality, estates, engineering, business management, sustainability, construction, real estate, government and civil society, finance, and many others.
Looking for new employment opportunities? Why not create a job alert on Job Mail and get informed of the latest vacancies in the job industries of your choice?
Facilities management courses and the skills needed to be successful
There are many different paths that you may take to become a facilities manager and a degree is not necessary. This is a field that values work experience more than time in the classroom because most of the skills are learnt on-the-job.
Upon matriculating, you can seek to gain work experience for a few years in a variety of fields from construction, janitorial services. The more diverse your experiences, the better! Look for positions such as facilities coordinators or assistants. These positions allow you to work under an experienced professional, allowing to get the best career insight.
After receiving some experience, or before if you prefer, you can go on to attain a certificate in management- project, financial, construction, almost any type will do. You can also attain a diploma in management at most universities in South Africa. Even degrees in fields such as architecture, engineering, and even accounting can get your foot in the door for facilities management jobs.
However, diplomas specifically providing facilities management courses are not as common. The University of Pretoria offers a degree in Facilities Management while the Cape Peninsula University of Technology offers a BTech in Construction and Facility Management.
There are many facilities management courses that teach the necessary skills for a successful career. Some of these training courses are endorsed by the South Africa Facilities Management Association (SAFMA). Even after you complete a certification or diploma, you still need to attain managerial experience for at least one year, whether or not you have completed any formal education.
Aside from having the necessary job and academic qualifications, there are also some key skills that can serve as huge assets for most facilities manager jobs.
- Organisational skills are a must. In order to effectively navigate between multiple parties, projects, and multiple demands, you must be able to handle the multiple needs and to do so with composure.
- Good communication skills, both listening and speaking, are essential in understanding the demands of others as well as being able to relay them effectively to other involved parties.
- Financial acumen will unlock many of the difficult aspects of the facilities management job and make day-to-day operations much simpler. Budgets, contracts, invoices, it can all get quite hectic. Understanding the underlying principles behind how to maximize your value can take out the guesswork in managing your finances on the job.
- Leadership skills also serves a facilities manager well.. As the point of contact between multiple parties and teams, all will look to you for direction and answers. Being able to direct all of your teams and staff efficiently will lead to less problems for you down the line and will maximize your value.
What kind of salary can be expected?
Facilities managers in South Africa earn on average R305,113 per annum. Increases in salaries are mostly attributed to the attainment of project management skills either through demonstration on the job or through a certificate or degree.
Jobs in facilities management are plentiful throughout South Africa, especially in Johannesburg. Please be sure to check the job descriptions before you apply to ensure that you are applying for a position that you are best suited for.