New report unveils FM in NZ as a multi-billion-dollar industry

FM industry calls for ministerial portfolio in new government following release of research report.

A new report has unveiled the significant economic impact of the facilities management industry – a sector that has largely remained unmeasured until now.

According to the report, which will be presented in full at the FM Summit Aotearoa 2023 later this month, the economic impact of facilities management totalled $14.9 billion in expenditure, added over $7 billion to GDP and supported more than 47,000 jobs last year, the research by leading BERL uncovered.

However, the report says that the economic effect of the industry could be even greater, and the figures are likely to be too conservative given the difficulties capturing all industries and occupations involved in facilities management.

Jo Duggan, CEO of the Facilities Management Association of New Zealand, who commissioned the research, said: “Facilities managers are providing solutions for the most important issues facing us. They’re responsible for keeping the air we breathe when indoors safe and healthy, helping to prevent sicknesses spreading. They help drive down operating costs by running places efficiently, and they optimise the use of energy, helping to reduce climate pollution.

“And now we know that the industry is making a multi-billion dollar contribution to the economy, and supporting tens of thousands of New Zealand jobs.

“Yet the solutions we can provide often fall through the gaps at the highest level of government. That’s why the next government should create a new cabinet-level portfolio for a minister of the built environment.

“This would focus exclusively on making the most of our existing buildings – rather than building new ones. It could, for instance, take the reins on vital projects such as improving and mandating levels of indoor air quality, which could have great health impacts, ensuring urban areas play a part in a predator-free Aotearoa, increase the longevity of assets saving billions of dollars, and driving energy efficiency deep into our built environment – slashing bills and carbon pollution.”

Until today’s report, the economic impact of this profession in Aotearoa New Zealand has been largely unmeasured, and limited to short sections as part of larger international reports.

The research reveals that the facilities management sector is greater than the 2,775 people reportedly employed in facilities manager and facilities administrator occupations and includes employees across a broad range of roles and industries.

Collectively, facilities management professionals are estimated to be responsible for $7 billion of direct expenditure in the New Zealand economy each year, directly contributing $3.5 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and supporting the employment of almost 22,800 full time equivalent employees (FTEs).

As this expenditure circulates through the economy, additional indirect and induced expenditure adds about another $8 billion to expenditure, bringing total expenditure to almost $15 billion in the national economy in 2022, adding a total of $7.4 billion to GDP, and supporting just under 48,000 FTE jobs.

However, these figures might be conservative, the reports say, as it could not capture all the industries and occupations that might be involved in facilities management. That’s mostly because the full scope of the industry employment is not fully captured by ANZSCO, the standard classification of occupations, and the contribution to GDP and employment is spread across multiple industrial classifications.

Nick Robertson, project lead at BERL, said: “This research begins to unveil the large economic impact the industry has, and is just a first step. Facilities management includes a diverse range of occupations, and rather than fitting within the standard industry classifications it operates across almost all parts of the economy.

“Because of this we still don’t know exactly how the full scope of the facilities management industry is made up, which means we can’t see how much spending it makes, and where this spending is going.

“The figures in this report are conservative, and further in-depth research will be needed to capture the exact composition of the facilities management industry, its true expenditure, and contribution to GDP and employment.”

Read the full report here.

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