As the construction industry continues to boom in the Middle East, facilities management (FM) is gaining further importance in the region where there is a shift in focus from actually getting a development up, to managing it effectively once it is built, according to Hill McGlynn, a UK-based recruitment consultancy, which has recently opened a local office in Dubai to service the GCC countries.
“FM has been a predominant discipline throughout the Western world for the last decade but has only quite recently played any kind of role in the property market over here,” says country manager, Julie Faris who has spent eight years recruiting within the facilities industry. “With new developments being planned everyday, investors and developers have begun to realise the importance of forward planning and the role it plays in the effective maintenance of the fast-rising edifices.”
“FM is crucial to the future of this area,” says Faris who has first-hand experience of the disasters of not having an effective FM in place. “Buildings are going up with little or no thought being given to things as simple as public toilets, storage and cleaning areas. Once built, it is then impossible to service these developments effectively.
“Although FM is synonymous with the built environment, developers in the region are realising that it makes sense to get FM consultants involved early – right from the design stage itself.”
She continues: “A good FM consultant will have the ability to look at a development in its design stage and comprehend logistically how the end-product can be managed. Their input at this stage is invaluable as often it will be common sense and past experience of running buildings that allows the consultant to point out simplistic but crucial mistakes in the actual design. These can be rectified easily, without any cost or effort.
“Being a relatively new discipline in the Gulf, FM faces a lack of skilled professionals with Middle East experience. While there is a plethora of FM professionals only too willing to relocate from the West, a lot of employers in the region are looking to attract people who are familiar with the way business is done out here and have had exposure to the major projects and developments unique to the Middle East. This is where things get more difficult, since there are only a finite number of people in this relatively new market segment who fit the criteria.”
Hill McGlynn & Associates, which is one of the first recruitment consultancies to focus specifically on FM, says it prides itself on being a specialist recruiter.
“Each of our consultants concentrates on one specific discipline within the construction and property sector,” Faris explains. “In fact, we have recently brought in an architectural specialist from Australia, Celie Jones, who brings with her a wealth of expertise in the architecture industry and is already well known within the Middle Eastern market for her excellent service delivery and the ability to find any kind of skill set.”
Another coup for the company was securing the services of Paul Kelly. Originally from the UK, Kelly has spent the last eight years in the construction industry, having actually worked for several years within the engineering field.
“I know what my clients want and need and, most importantly, I understand the tight deadlines they are working to. Therefore, I can deliver the right staff at the right time,” he says. “Understanding the whole construction process is vital when sourcing for staff, especially when they are not currently on the ground here within the GCC.”
“In short, clients demand a better service and a higher quality of staff and recruitment consultancies need to be able to respond to this,” Jones adds.
“I was more than happy to join Hill McGlynn as, not only were they in the top 100 companies to work for in the UK, they also have a good reputation in the Middle East,” she comments.
“It seems that as the construction market evolves so too does the recruitment market that feeds essential skill sets into the industry. Increasing sophistication within the construction and especially the facilities industries is bringing with it more innovative recruitment solutions,” Faris concludes.