Fatal attraction

Christopher Stokes, senior consultant, Macdonald & Company, discusses the current state of the FM market.

COMMENT, Facilities Management

The Middle Eastern salary survey conducted by Macdonald & Com­pany, was released at this year's Cityscape and the consultants and directors of Macdonald & Company, took some hits. But I feel the results have made for some interesting and relevant reading.

After seeing the results from an FM point of view, it was clear that unlike other areas of the property market FM was fairly sensible and inline with results from established FM markets such as the UK and Australia.

Speaking with a number of people in the market from around the world, although money is an obvious motivator, its clear people do look at the diversity of projects in the Middle East as a motivation to move.

As a recruiter I'm keen for FMs to start at the design phase as well as when a building has been handed over. From an industry point of view, this is becoming in­creasingly important and in the long term, a much more cost effective move.

Interestingly, I see the FM market high on the agenda in the Middle East at the moment with important figures from the likes of Emaar, EC Harris and Sama Dubai doing more stand up shows than Jim Davidson, highlighting the market in a positive way. This is required to both educate the construction industry and also to attract and widen the market for experi­enced people.

The FM GCC Development

Trends are changing in the Middle East both in terms of what people are look­ing for, the particular demands in terms of candidate's origin and the increased demand for local experience.

Although local knowledge is good to have, I do feel that sometimes the quality of overseas candidates in terms there knowledge of FM business is vital. The next two years are going to be huge for the requirements of current companies and companies looking at setting up divisions here in the UAE and in developing coun­tries around the GCC.

Local Emirati's and Arabs are increas­ingly in demand, but there is no point employing them until they have a sound base to learn from.

Companies should ensure they have international employees who have the market qualifications and knowledge of more established markets, which is as vital in developing a successful FM business.

The UAE accounts for nearly 66% of the total facilities management market revenue share and has the strongest growth rate in the region.

Compared with Dubai, Abu Dhabi has well-planned development projects, all of which offer long-term potential for total facilities management companies.

The 2006 Asian Games in Doha helped to stir commercial and residential develop­ments in Qatar and it is now enjoying a boom in its construction sector.

Unlike the UAE, Qatar is populated by single-service maintenance contractors, but is slowly developing a total facilities management mentality and has certainly increased the demand for candidates.

Although it has maintained its position as a regional financial centre, Bahrain is stepping up its efforts to diversify its economy into tourism, retail and business services sectors. Mixed-use developments have already commenced and offer consid­erable potential for the FM sector.

However, because of the country's small size, this potential is not as attractive as that of the UAE and Qatar. The real estate and construction sectors in Oman and Kuwait are far less developed hence op­portunities for FM are lower.

The construction work in Saudi Arabia is valued at more than US $400 billion and is due to be completed in the next decade. In­creasingly, some of the largest investments are likely to lie in real estate development as well as industry and infrastructure.

FM is set to play an important part of these future developments and plans. I have been contacted by a number of companies looking to set up a FM service provision company, which illustrates the potential demand boiling in Saudi.

On a final point, more and more busi­nesses are tweaking their operations to present themselves as responsible stewards of the environment and at the same time increase the potential for greater profitability.

This is something which may change the future of our developments and is certainly a topic for further thought.

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