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International Women’s Day is so much more than just acknowledging the achievements of women. The day aims to acknowledge the contributions that women have made in cultural, political, and socioeconomic settings around the globe. While we cheer on women's achievements, we must also acknowledge there is still much work to be done.
According to Zippia.com, there are more than 138,000 facilities managers employed in the United States currently. However, only 23 percent of those are women – dropping 4 percent since 2015. While the number is higher than compared to other buildings-related industries, women facilities managers still earn 93 cents to every dollar that their male counterparts make. However, that number may improve as more women enter the industry.
There has been an increase of women entering leadership roles in the last few years. Companies like Sodexo have prioritized using traditional methods such as online job boards, local ads, and career fairs to recruit more women to join its organization. In addition, the company has formed partnerships with leading facilities management organizations to help increase the number of women it hires.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many women to leave the workforce, and as the country begins to return back to offices, their absence is felt. Companies are going to have to ditch the stereotypes that facilities management is “men’s work” in order to better recruit women. Instead, focus on explaining why women fit this particular job description: detailed oriented, excellent communication skills, and an expert problem solver.
“As we empower women, we look for certain levels of details and to implement certain levels of solutions,” says Alishia Jolivette-Weber, officer of facilities, maintenance and operations for the Houston Independent School District. “There is a place for women everywhere as long as we have our mind made up that that’s what we want to do. It’s wherever you will feel empowered and do well – there is a place for you.”
One of the places to feel empowered will be at NFMT’s Women in FM 2022 panel on March 30. A diverse group will of women will come together to discuss how to increase the visibility of women in the industry, share their strategies for success and address any fears or frustrations that one may have. The Women in FM panel will also share wins and champion others to continue to break into the industry.
Mackenna Moralez is assistant editor, facility group.