Home' Facility Perspectives : Vol 11 No 2 Contents 84
FACILITY PERSPECTIVES | VOLUME 11 NUMBER 2
| DIVERSITY IN FM
DIVERSITY IN FM PROFILE
Name: Lisa Hut
Job title: Workplace Strategist
Developing business for our new office
in Sydney, making sure that we create an
established organisation that is known for
measuring the workplace and improving
What attracted you to the facilities
After high school, it took me one year to
figure out what I wanted to study. I realised
that I should choose a discipline that fits my
qualities. I’m good at organising, have an eye
for detail and I’m a very curious person. For
example, I’ve always wanted to know how
things work at airports or hospitals. I started
studying FM at the Hanze University in the
Netherlands at the age of 18. Four years
later, I graduated and won two awards for
my thesis about third workplaces. It gave
me so much energy. From that moment on,
I knew I would like to develop myself in the
(workplace) FM industry.
What are your career goals?
I’m doing everything I can to set up our
Australia branch, and we’re doing very well.
I know that no matter where my career
takes me, I will always make sure that I’m
passionate about what I’m doing. But, to me,
a career is not the most important thing in
life. I’m not pushing myself to end up as an
executive or director that doesn’t have time
for their family. I make choices based on my
instinct, and it will take me where I want
to be – like here, in this beautiful country. I
want to end up as an old, wise and proud
woman who shares her knowledge with other
What advice do you wish you had
when you first started, and what
advice would you give to other
women interested in joining the
Don’t let others make you feel insecure, and
never be afraid to share your opinion. My
career started just five years ago, but I’ve
already learnt so much. In the Netherlands,
men dominate the industry. Sometimes, I
felt that the person on the other side of the
table did not value my professional opinion
(as much), just because I was young and less
experienced. That made me insecure at first,
but I also believe that you can learn from
everyone. If you just believe in yourself, it
will always be okay.
Women represent only 17 per cent
of the total facilities management
workforce. Why do you think this
figure is so low?
After I arrived in Australia in October 2016
and attended the FMA Industry Awards
in November, I realised that I hadn’t seen
a lot of women, and I noted a striking
resemblance with FM in the Netherlands. I
think the main reason is due to the roots of
facilities management, where it was largely
janitorial services, arranging workplaces and
security. Typically, these were considered
‘male jobs’. Now, the world of facilities
management is evolving – and like in the
Netherlands, increasingly more countries
offer facilities management studies –
therefore, women gradually become more
active in the industry.
Despite low representation, the
number of women in facilities
management has been steadily
increasing over the years. What do
you believe is the reason for this?
They have always said that the future
facilities manager in the Netherlands will be
a female. You will only see women at the
university and men in the business side of
FM. I believe that the FM role is changing.
These days, it’s more about people and the
innovation in information technology. A mix
of those two principles and dealing with
complexity of data requires new leadership. I
think this attracts more women.
Do you think there is currently
enough diversity in the FM industry?
No, certainly not. Going to an FM event,
you can sometimes count the number of
women on two hands. At this very moment,
I’m asking myself what the right amount
should be – I don’t have the answer.
Normally, the demographics of the students
should be reflected in the working industry;
however, a full-time FM degree does not
exist in Australia. We need to promote FM
at universities. Not only diversity in gender,
but sexuality, age and different cultural
backgrounds should also be accepted and
represented in the industry.
Do you think you or other women
might face any barriers to success
within the industry?
You’re always creating your own success.
If you truly want to achieve your goals, the
barriers are just personal challenges that any
other person has – whether they are female
or male. The industry might be dominated
by men, but it doesn’t say that the men are
against women (if so, they are foolish).
How do you think the FM industry
could improve its diversity?
The industry is evolving and includes many more
competencies than 10 years ago. (Think of data
analytics, workplace strategy and maturity, flex
working, IT-driven facilities management, and
smart phones and wearables.) Therefore, it
attracts a different group of professionals.
Change is evidently coming, but could be
boosted by advertising the industry’s potential to
educational institutions, corporate directors and
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