The Facilities Management Business Confidence Index 2021 published by i-FM in partnership with Barclays in May 2021 provides a comprehensive view of all the key issues, concerns and challenges around the facilities management (FM) market for this year.

In 2020, COVID-19 became an unexpected hurdle for all sectors of the economy and FM was not an exception. It was a hard time and 2021 promises to be transformative for many facility management businesses dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic.

We’ve highlighted some key findings from the report below.

Facilities Management Market assessment


Despite the pandemic, the common assessment of the market seems to be surprisingly optimistic. Over half of people surveyed rated the current state of FM business as good or very good, with only 22% rating it as poor or very poor.

Even though the sector has clearly suffered because of the virus COVID has made people appreciate the importance of security and cleaning more, creating a greater need for these types of soft services. This has opened the door for innovation and allowed the business sector to evolve even in these challenging times.

Confidence levels in facilities management sector

The spirit of cautious optimism prevails in views on trading for the upcoming 12 months, with 67% of those surveyed expecting improvements in trading.

Graph showing business confidence in FM

What lies ahead for facilities management?

The near-term plans for the sector reflected some of the ever-present challenges with skill shortages among workers being a concern. Finding candidates with proper key-skills remains a difficult task, so over half of the survey participants plan to focus on maintaining their workforce over the next 12 months, with less than a third planning to increase it.

2021 business objectives in FM seem to be focused mainly on growth, although ambitions have lessened since last year as many remain cautious and prefer to focus on moderate growth rather than rapid expansion.

FM plans to grow workforce

One of the key lessons is the importance of flexible service provision and adaptability which will remain essential in all post-pandemic growth strategies.

Technology in Facilities Management

Technology remains an important area of investment for FMs, perhaps now more so than ever with a lot of day-to-day processes being heavily dependent on it. Measuring and reporting service delivery now takes the priority in these investment processes, while CRM and communications have moved further down the list.

The workplace has undergone many changes in the last year. A lot of people had to switch to remote work in 2021 and FM sector is not an exception. This impact on occupancy has not gone unnoticed and over 80% do not expect it to return to pre-2020 levels after the pandemic.

In summary, even with all the hurdles of the past year, facility management business seems to be in good shape with a busy future and new opportunities on the horizon. Cause or optimism!


The full report is available at i-FM.

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