The challenges and opportunities of skilling blue-collar employees in the Facility Management industry

Every industry wants to be equipped with a workforce which aligns with their vision and helps them achieve their objective. But this workforce can’t operate without the bottom of the pyramid holding them up, ie – the blue-collar segment. But the complexity of getting trained and skilled blue-collar employees is something no employer can extricate themselves from. And this gets even more complex for the facility management industry because of the simple reason that the whole premise of their industry is dependent on the support staff and blue-collar ecosystem as opposed to being just a customary part of it.

The layered nature of the facility management industry brings along its own set of challenges. For instance, handling multiple vendors from different backgrounds catering to a wide variety of facilities – right from supplying manpower for housekeeping to electricians to drivers to security guards. These organisations also have to take care of demand aggregation, and accordingly work to manage the demand-supply gap. But most of all, they have to ensure providing skilled staff to the IT/ITES organisations for the frictionless functioning of people and technology. With the booming growth of the IT sector in India and lots of mushrooming start-ups, the demand for the staff is only looking north in the time to come. But the question is – are they skilled and trained to do their part in the organisations they are associated with? And covering the various layers, are they able to keep uniformity when it comes to training?

Unlike white-collar employees, blue-collar workers don’t have a degree to prove that they are trained for the job, so the employers are left with only their work experience to rely on. But this gets even more complicated, given that they don’t have a formal, definite record of their work history either. So their skilling and reskilling before handing them over to any organisation is a never-ending process for this industry. The high rate of attrition in this segment makes this process even more challenging for the employer. The industry also has its own battles when it comes to issues like training the blue-collar employees to adhere to the corporate guidelines and not just the job description; or having to handle HR issues for them with an under-staffed and under-eqippued machinery while maintaining consistency from a global perspective.

But where there’s a challenge, there’s also an opportunity to better the situation. This means that there are as many opportunities and as much necessary work to be done in terms of training and skilling the blue-collar workforce in facility management industry. This means that the staff needs to keep up with the evolving time and growing demand. They don’t just need to be formally trained for the job they have been hired to do but also be certified in order to ease the process for the employer. The increased efficiency of blue-collar employees will help the organisation function much more smoothly. This will not just help increase the productivity, but also address the problem of high attrition to a large extent.

And in today’s times, just job skill doesn’t suffice, the training needs to be much more inclusive, well-rounded and holistic. The training needs to cover all these aspects crucial for the job – job skills, soft skills, and communication. Considering the large number of customers that the facility management industry caters to, this is as essential for the companies as acquiring the semi-skilled workforce. Apart from doing their jobs seamlessly, they should also be able to handle customer experience with as much ease. Investing in the people who are the core foundation of the industry will bridge the skill gap and yield long-term mutual benefits for both employers and employees.

Comments (2)

  • James_Bab

    Not all pay as much as Poole’s, but all pay at least $13 an hour; many pay much more. These jobs require some training but far less school than a bachelor’s degree. Technology has given many a makeover, leaving them worlds away from their assembly-line predecessors and challenging the notion that good blue-collar jobs are dead and that the only path to a good career is a four-year degree.

    • Shubhangi Sinha

      Agree. The demand for skilled and trained blue-collar workers has only seen a rise in recent times and therefore, it’s only fair that they get the pay and respect in their jobs like their white-collar counterparts.


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