(photo: Aleksandar Pasaric)
29.10.2018, 10:58

Building a Career in International FM

Industry & Regulatory News, Appointments, EMEA
The International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) UK Chapter and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) will kick-start Workplace Week London 2018 with a dedicated breakfast session on the 12 November that will take a close look at how FMs can develop and adapt their skills in line with a rapidly developing industry, to build a successful, cross-border career in facility and workplace management.



In advance of AWA’s Workplace Week, IFMA UK-RICS event panellists reveal their top tips for those looking to explore new and exciting pathways in FM:


Jo Wake, Global Head of FM & Real Estate, Deliveroo:

“Don’t go steaming in dictating your agenda and giving it the big’un as you've run a building in London for 5 years with your eyes closed. The walls will go up, door slammed and any goodwill extended to you will be long gone. That's a tough place to come back from. Engage your soft skills; listen, listen and listen some more to their problems and challenges. Explore solutions WITH them and coach them through, connect them with peers and understand the cultural nuances at play. Be the problem solver, the person that removes blockers and the one they can trust to follow through on tasks and actions.”


Satvir Bungar, Managing Director in Corporate Finance, BDO LLP:

“My top tip for those looking to building an international career in FM is to focus your efforts – identify a region or sub-sector and put energy into building relationships. Start with your connections and leverage strong local relationships to help access new markets. Social media is a great way to explore – I regularly use Linkedin connections to help open doors.”


Claudia Halabi, Head of Talent Acquisition, JLL:

“If working across borders is your career goal, then aim to work for a global player - this will ultimately allow you to grow your understanding of different markets, countries and cultures from a facilities / workplace standpoint, and this will set you up to easily transition into operating across multiple cities. Working for a global firm will also give you greater opportunities to be located in new countries or regions.”


Chris Hood, Director of Consulting, AWA (and one of the original IFMA Workplace Evolutionaries):

“An international career needs to be born upon a passion for seeing and experiencing new things, doing things differently and constructively appreciating diverse attitudes and behaviours. One can’t be a cultural bulldozer! If you have the right mindset, then just do it. I can attest to the international element being the most exciting and rewarding dimension of my own career. I guarantee that you will see and hear things that you never believed possible!”


Daniel Dickson, CEO, Atalian Servest:

“The role of the facilities manager has always been an evolving one. Technology is the key to providing FM and workplace solutions, and understanding how to use the technology and the invaluable data we have at our fingertips is the number one skill organisations need to provide training and support on.”


Dave Wilson, Director of Effective Facilities Limited and one of the organisers behind the event, says:

“The way we do things round here…” is a trap designed to make you back away from change. You have to be able to balance being sure in pursuit of the things you want to achieve, but receptive to and understanding of real local issues which might act as barriers to that change. Work out quickly who your allies are, and who is digging defences against change. Be honest, be clear, be fair. Remember that Brits are seen as having a tendency to vagueness in some cultures - and we’re too direct for others. Be sensitive.”


An estimated 25 million people around the globe work in facility management[1], and 70% of them are over the age of 47[2]. The industry sports an ageing workforce and in the next few years, half of the FMs around the world will be retiring. So, when those 17.5 million professionals step aside, who will fill their shoes? And what skills will the future FM need in line with the changing world of work?


Promising a jam-packed morning of discussion and debate, a panel of experts will share their stories on the morning of the 12th November at the Arcadis HQ in Kings Cross, London. Wake, Bungar, Hood, Halabi and Dickson will offer advice to those who don’t want their careers to be confined by borders – geographical, digital, or otherwise.


To sign up to this free event on the 12 November , visit – Tickets are FREE but Workplace Week is a philanthropic week-long event (all proceeds from the workplace tours and the fringe events go to BBC’s Children in Need), so the IFMA UK Chapter team will be asking for donations on the day.

[1] IFMA World Workplace 2016

[2] Source: research by IFMA Fellow, Dr J Campbell



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