The Decline in Skilled Trade Workers: Filling in the Gap


By Katie Torres

One of the more discouraging trends in facilities maintenance has been the decrease in skilled trade workers.

This decline has been caused by many factors. And along with this trend come some obstacles for FM managers:

  • With fewer vendors to choose from, it is difficult to find the right one for the job.
  • The decrease in workers creates a higher demand, which in turn has also raised costs of repairs.
  • A lack of interest in skilled trades also results in sub-par repairs.

These obstacles often create a speed-bump for FM departments trying to complete repairs. They add to the pressure to get repairs done in a timely manner, and to the highest standard.

One of the best things an FM department can do is hire on the help of an FM company. 

This may seem at first like an extra expense to your business, until you consider that:

1. FM companies are used to finding the vendors who are otherwise difficult to find. 

This is what FM companies do. They know where to find vendors, how much is usually charged, and the quality of work that each vendor usually provides. They have relationships built with vendors, making it easier for them to find the right guy to do the job so you don't have to.

2. A great FM company will know how to negotiate costs, and save you hundreds.

If you've ever been told that a floor grate will cost nearly $500 to repair, when you know that the floor grate itself costs less than $200, you know the frustration of being asked to shell out more money than is necessary. You also know how frustrating it can be to try to talk down vendors on the cost. An FM company with the skills to negotiate will save you the hassle, and the money.

3. The right FM company will be passionate about helping your business.

Working with vendors who do not truly care about the quality of care that goes into your repairs is disheartening. It may not even be that they have a bad work ethic. It could be due to lack of training, experience, or even just a bad day. An FM company who cares will hold vendors to a high standard, and therefore will provide your business with great service.

The lack of skilled workers has been a huge problem for facilities maintenance, and it will take time to shift the trends in a more positive direction.

This is why there are FM companies who are working hard to fill the gap so that FM departments can remain effective, and confident in the level of service they are receiving from their vendors.