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FM Pulse Salary Survey Respondents Say Budgets Still Tight

By Casey Laughman, Managing Editor - September 2012 - Facilities Management


ABOUT FM Pulse

FM Pulse is an annual survey that covers salaries, staffing, budgets, and perceptions of the field. Information for the survey was gathered through a series of emails to facility professionals, including subscribers to Building Operating Management and Maintenance Solutions magazines and electronic newsletters, and NFMT and webcast attendees. Conducted during June and July 2012, the survey included 2,995 responses. Salary and raise information is reported as the median amount, which indicates a middle point of data. Half of those who responded are below the median, while half are above. Numbers that are extremely high or low do not distort it. Some charts may not add to 100 percent because of rounding.

 

It's no secret that facility managers have been forced to scramble over the last few years. With the economy locked in an ongoing struggle to rise above mediocre, budgets have been cut, employees laid off, and maintenance deferred.

It's been a maddening cycle for most — one month things start to look better, then the next month they look worse, forcing a constant re-evaluation of the budget. Adding to the challenge is a recent string of events ranging from political gridlock in Washington to a heat wave powerful enough to buckle asphalt.

It all adds up to forcing facility managers to be more agile than usual as they have to keep one eye on the day-to-day operations of the facility and one on the long-term plan, without much budget flexibility on the horizon in either area.

"I think of myself often as the guy up on stage keeping the plates spinning on the sticks," says Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager, Toyota. "I've got more plates than I've got sticks at the moment."

Cooke isn't the only one. Respondents to Building Operating Management's annual FM Pulse survey indicated that budgets aren't likely to change very much, if at all, next year. Seventy percent say they expect their capital budgets to be either unchanged or changed by less than 5 percent; 77 percent say the same about their operating budgets.

But, as cliché as it may be, the continuing malaise has offered opportunities for facility managers to re-examine how they're spending their money, allocating the available staff and keeping equipment running. And, looking forward, a common theme is to take advantage of past successes to help sell upper management on new projects. In most cases, the keys to success are simple: Compile a lot of information to support your case, take advantage of technology, get creative, and draw on your track record of past successes to sell your new projects.

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