Reasons and remedies for prioritising skills and training


  • Facilities,
  • Sustainability,
  • Workplace

22 February 2024


By Linda Hausmanis

This week I spoke at Workplace Futures 2024, a conference which explored the intersection between people and technology amidst rapid change. There was a focus on the challenges, opportunities and – as the theme of the day had it – their symbiosis.  With workplace experience one of the key phrases of the day, this connection is key for our own lynchpin profession, workplace and facilities management (WFM).

Foregrounding the conference are stark megatrends impacting the world of work. According to research, by 2035 (barely a decade from now) it’s predicted that in the UK there will be 2.6 million new jobs; however, 2 million jobs will be displaced by automation. Of these new jobs, most will be at the level of professional and associate professional, while the labour pool will be down by 1 million workers.

Skills needs are evolving. A new emphasis on creative thinking, communication, information (read: data) literacy and more. UK businesses are facing a serious skills deficit and if they wish to stop going backwards, let alone remain competitive, they must upskill and reskill their current workforce, plus attract talent with these desirable qualities. Considered alongside falling employer investment in skills, we are facing a perfect storm, threating growth, businesses success, organisational adaption to change and more. Remember: there are very significant opportunities for our sector.

So, what to do? First off, don’t get left behind. Investment in yourself and your team is an opportunity for future success – in data and technology, in sustainability, in workplace strategy, as borne out by research. As the standard setter, IWFM is the only professional body which has created a career pathway from entry level through to director level, creating opportunities for individuals to develop throughout their career and gain recognition and standing, both within the profession and alongside aligned disciplines.

Second, know the importance of evidence to shaping our future and get involved in our skills research later in the spring. Third, lean into equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) to improve your talent pool, boost workplace culture and optimise business outcomes. It’ll also help attract top talent and create a supportive atmosphere which builds the future talent pipeline.

Lastly, publicise your organisation’s opportunities to all types of talent, from ex-servicepeople to school leavers to returners to work. Emphasise how specialised skills in areas like sustainability and digital innovation can be gained through work in WFM.  

By prioritising teams and their abilities, you’ll enhance your organisation and the sector, plus create the conditions to better seize future opportunities and overcome the challenges ahead.