For those looking to break into the facility management profession, there’s no better time than now. An International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and Building Operating Management magazine salary survey shows that the facility management industry is experiencing an aging workforce and a jump in salaries for those entering the field, factors that bode well for the up-and-coming facility manager.

The Profiles 2007 Salary Report, based on a survey of 4,600 facility professionals, showed that the base salary for those with less than four years experience rose nearly 13 percent since the previous salary report, from $56,000 in 2004 to $63,000 in 2007. This, combined with the fact that the median age of facility managers continues to rise — from 47 in 2004 to 49 this year — points to a workforce that is moving toward retirement and in need of young professionals.

“To enter this field and potentially be looking at a $63,000 salary speaks volumes about the value of the industry and what it can offer younger professionals,” said IFMA Associate Director of Research Shari Epstein. “Facility management is a growing field, yet there aren’t enough young workers to fill in for the larger group of facility managers who plan to retire in the next few years.  This is good news for those considering entering the profession, as starting salaries are beginning to rise significantly.”

The age gap outlined in the report is striking. Workers 45 or older increased from 62 percent in 2004 to 68 percent this year, with those 55 and older increasing from 20 to 25 percent during the same period.

While the average age of facility managers is on the rise, the number of young workers entering the field is on the decline. Workers 35 to 44 years old decreased from 30 percent in 2004 to 25 percent in 2007, with the number of workers younger than 35 also declining, from 9 percent to 7 percent. Only 2 percent of facility managers surveyed were 29 or younger. The number of workers whose first job was in facility management, however, grew from 5 percent in 2004 to 7 percent in 2007.

Though the number of young workers is declining, the majority of young people in the field are women. Eleven percent of female survey respondents were younger than 35 years old, compared to only 6 percent of their male counterparts. Similarly, 28 percent of women surveyed were 35 to 44 years old, as opposed to 24 percent of men.

As the workforce ages, younger workers are enjoying increased salaries, but they aren’t alone. While the data suggest substantial diversity in survey respondents, a typical facility management practitioner reported a total compensation of $86,000 in 2007, an increase from $77,505 in 2004.

As with previous surveys, education level and the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) designation also have a large impact on compensation. Survey respondents with a master’s degree or higher reported earning an average base pay of $96,750, up from $87,000 in 2004. Those with a bachelor’s degree reported a base pay of $82,000, an increase from $75,000 in 2004.

Similarly, facility managers with the CFM designation reported earning $14,000 more per year than their counterparts without the designation. Those with the CFM designation reported a base pay of $92,000 in 2007, up from $79,450 in 2004.

Additional analysis of the salary data showed that each year a facility manager spent in the field added $779 to the individual’s salary. The number of years an individual spent with their current employer had a lesser impact on salary, adding $362 per year.

Geographic location also played a role in compensation. Those living on the West Coast reported earning on average $13,107 more than their counterparts, while those on the East Coast reported earning an average of $6,297 more.

The Profiles 2007 Salary Report was sent to 12,744 IFMA members and 49,939 subscribers of Building Operating Management. A total of 4,600 facility professionals completed the survey, with survey information being collected online from July 6 to July 23, 2007. Survey respondents from more than 40 countries contributed to the report, with the majority coming from North America.