Home News BIFM’s Business Confidence Monitor highlights “challenges and optimism” across FM sector

BIFM’s Business Confidence Monitor highlights “challenges and optimism” across FM sector

by Brian Sims

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has launched its UK FM Business Confidence Monitor 2018. Produced in partnership with Barclays and i-FM, the Business Confidence Monitor offers a unique insight into buoyancy across the FM industry and evaluations of current thinking and attitudes at the heart of the sector.

The Business Confidence Monitor has canvassed the views of business leaders and other professionals, enabling an assessment of the confidence, ambition and priorities of organisations presently operating in the FM market.

Since the first Business Confidence Monitor report was produced back in 2015, confidence in the FM business environment within the UK has been cautiously optimistic. However, this year’s results come at a pivotal moment for the FM market, given the range of new opportunities and challenges facing the sector, from the adoption of new technology right through to shifting customer expectations.

The threats facing the FM market are being felt more acutely in 2018. A number of large FM service providers, for example, reported profit warnings in 2017. When last year’s report was released, Carillion stood as one of the FM sector’s most prominent organisations, but while this year’s survey was live the company entered liquidation.

Although in general terms confidence levels in the sector continue to fall, respondents to the BIFM’s survey remain positive about the FM business environment despite this year’s results demonstrating the fact that, as a country, we continue to be in a state of flux regarding Brexit.

Fair share of challenges

David Emanual, managing director of i-FM, said: “The FM market has experienced its fair share of challenges over the past 12 months, from liquidations and profit warnings to strategic reviews and redundancies. Unfortunately, I suspect there could be more to come in 2018, which is why it’s reassuring, if not a little surprising, to see so much optimism for the future of FM. It’s an exciting time in the sector as new technologies disrupt traditional models and the discipline of FM evolves to take on a broader remit within the concept of the workplace.”

Terry Myatt, director and head of FM at Barclays, commented: “The next 12 months will undoubtedly be an important year for the UK’s economy as new trading relationships with the European Union and beyond are devised. With the FM sector continuing as an integral element of an ever-growing services sector and one of the largest UK employers, it will continue to play an important role in future jobs and prosperity for the country. It’s therefore vital that we use the Business Confidence Monitor to understand in detail the health of the sector and the confidence and sentiment expressed by its key constituents, particularly so at this time as our sector is firmly under the spotlight and attracting increasing attention.”

Peter Brogan, the BIFM’s head of research and insights, added: “Once again, sentiment on future business activity for the year ahead is positive, with a majority expecting to increase turnover and capital investment and focus on technology, although on a reducing basis. A particularly important insight, and a testament to the continuity of the Business Confidence Monitor, is the changing sentiment towards the Apprenticeship Levy. This mirrors wider industry concerns about its structure and effectiveness, but it’s particularly pleasing to learn that a majority expect no real negative impact from the National Living Wage increase – a sure sign that the industry has planned well and that engagement between service providers and end users has been strong in advance of this regulatory change.”

Brogan concluded: “I would strongly encourage FM sector leaders to familiarise themselves with the findings of the Business Confidence Monitor. They reveal key insights which could prove to be significant when it comes to prioritising for the year ahead.”

*Visit www.bifm.org.uk/bcm to download the report in full

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