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20 October 2018
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Abu Dhabi © Shutterstock

7 September 2017 | Deborah Shrewsbury

The third annual Business Confidence Monitor – Middle East, conducted by BIFM in partnership with i-FM.net and FM EXPO, shows a consistently positive outlook and steady growth within the FM industry, with some key challenges ahead.


The survey, which targets FM professionals working in the FM industry in the region, reveals that despite spending cuts in both the public and private sectors, and a reduction in marketing spend, 89 per cent of respondents are as confident or better in their business prospects for 2017.


But the positive stability indicators seen in the survey are not without their challenges. Survey respondents say the top three challenges facing the industry were the growth in competition (59 per cent), followed by the economy (55 per cent) and cash flow (51 per cent). The research also reveals that a decline in marketing spend and online presence from FM companies is prevalent, despite increasing competition.


The industry also faces a challenge when it comes to investment, with a steady decline in the number of respondents dissatisfied with innovation (44 per cent) and a reduction in the number of respondents who expect to see an increase in investment for research and development (down to 49 per cent).


When asked about the overall industry environment, the mood is positive, with 63 per cent of respondents rating the current environment as either positive or very positive. The industry is also more positive about the future, with 60 per cent of respondents expecting the FM environment to improve over the next 12 months (a growth of 3 per cent from last year's results).


Growth can also be seen in actual terms, with 52 per cent of FM industries stating that they totally outsource their business, a sharp increase of 15 per cent from last year's Business Confidence Monitor.


What's more, 71 per cent of respondents agreed that FM operations will become more outsourced in future and (consistent with last year's report), 87 per cent of respondents agree that technology is a way to grow business. This reveals a steady shift towards innovation and plans for modest growth and expansion.


FM professionals in the region also foresee a greater financial stability – 34 per cent of respondents expect to see their forward order books remain the same over the next 12 months (an increase of 14 per cent from last year's report). A positive outlook on financial gain is also growing, with 67 per cent of respondents agreeing that their turnover would increase in the coming year.


The report suggests that the FM industry has growth opportunities, with more than half of respondents (56 per cent) citing their main objective for the next 12 months as growing their revenue, and 95 per cent believing that their business capital investment over the next year will either increase or remain the same. This perception of growth can also be found in the positive outlook on workforce numbers – 66 per cent of respondents expect their workforce numbers to increase this year.


Expansion is also identified in Abu Dhabi and Dubai – both are highlighted as locations that will bring new opportunities to the industry.


BIFM research and information manager Peter Brogan said: “We are in the third year of the BCM. The survey results further highlight within this period the maturity of the FM industry and the increasing desire to establish effective FM in this market through steady growth and returns. The purpose of the Business Confidence Monitor provides relevant insights into the value and perception of FM across the Middle East in the current economic climate.”


Alexis Wheatley, event director at FM EXPO Dubai, said: “Whilst some challenges remain, the BCM Middle East offers a decent outlook and is positive overall for the FM industry in the region. Tough economic conditions aside, we are starting to see a maturing industry with some excellent providers and smarter clients who are intent on moving the industry forward.”


Download a full copy of the report from the BIFM website: