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Accepting the Next Generation of Facility Professionals

Young professionals entering the industry aren't lazy. Society has progressed so skills are different

By Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief  

I recently hosted two discussions about recruitment challenges — one in-person at our NFMT conference in Baltimore, and another online during our fnPrime Doors Open promotion. Both conversations touched on the lack of young applicants entering the industry. This is usually blamed on two reasons.  

The first is the lack of support for trade industries in our high schools, community colleges and even in our homes. Kids today are encouraged to attend college, whether they are a fit for higher learning or not. I’ve written about this problem before (see my December 2023 editorial) and offered some solutions.  

The other reason is an opinion that the current generation lacks the same work ethic and is even considered lazy. However, the other day, while reading Chuck Klosterman’s book The Nineties, I found an interesting passage that pushes back on this sentiment: 

“If a society improves, the experience of growing up in that society should be less taxing and more comfortable; if technology advances and efficiency increases, emerging generations should rationally expect to work less. If new kids aren’t soft and lazy, something has gone wrong.” 

As an example, when I was a kid, if I wanted to play video games with my friends, I had to bike to their house. Today, my kids can just log in online and play together virtually. Some call that laziness. I’d argue that’s progress. Not only are they accomplishing their goal of playing games with their friends, but they are developing a working knowledge of technology and inadvertently learning about connectivity. 

Instead of bemoaning the next generation, facility managers should be embracing the skillsets of these future generations. After all, it is where the industry is heading.  

Smart technology, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence will analyze our buildings’ operations and chart out courses for predictive maintenance and improved efficiencies. It’s going to require tech-savvy employees who know how to interpret and apply this data.  

Different facility skills will be used tomorrow than the ones needed today. But again, I call that progress. Recruiters should keep that in mind when searching for their next candidate.  

Dan Weltin is the editor-in-chief of the facility market. 


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  posted on 5/8/2024   Article Use Policy

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