By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
The English language is full of words that mean the same thing. Twelve is a dozen. A groundhog is a woodchuck. If you’re right, you’re also correct. The list goes on. And while we’re familiar with most colloquialisms, it can be confusing and frustrating to run into ones that aren’t familiar—like any of the many facilities management job titles.
If you’re browsing help wanted ads or brushing up on facilities management terms, you’re liable to run into dozens of unique monikers for facility manager. Some of them don’t even sound like they’d be in the same industry, let alone a stand-in name for the title!
Let’s take a look at the many job titles that pass for a facility management position and learn more about why they’re often presented in different ways.
Manager and coordinator titles
Most often, facility oversight is seen one of two ways: as a managerial position or through the eyes of a coordinator. Both are fair assessments. Facilities managers are indeed managers, and their role in keeping facilities humming definitely falls under the realm of coordination. As a result, a facilities manager job description will likely involve the words “manager” or “coordinator.”
Several other qualifiers mark facility management positions. Words like specialist, planner, lead, and administrator tend to signify their broad oversight. How they’re used depends on how the hiring company sees the role of their facilities manager. Are they more of a specialist doing things nobody else can? Or are they a leader who delegates facilities tasks to others? The answer often dictates the job title. Here are some of the most common synonyms for facilities manager:
- Facilities Administrator
- Facilities Helpdesk Lead
- Facilities Supervisor
- Facilities System Specialist
- Facility Coordinator
- Global Corporate Properties Coordinator
- Global Workplace Manager
- Manager of Real Estate
- Move Coordinator
- Occupancy and Space Planner
- Office Services Manager
- Space and Facility Management Specialist
- Space Management Specialist
- Space Planner
- Space Planning Manager
- Workplace Services Manager
- Workspace Manager
Notice the common theme—they’re all qualified by space, workplace, facilities, and real estate. Ultimately, a facility manager’s role is defined by what workplace aspects they oversee.
Is a facility manager a strategist? The abundance of strategy-focused job titles suggests so. It’s not a stretch to see facilities management as a strategic position. There’s a lot that goes into managing space, people, and technology—and bringing them together in harmony certainly takes strategy. What’s truly interesting is the diverse range of strategic concepts in facility manager job postings:
- Facilities Strategic Planner
- Facilities Strategist
- Real Estate Strategic Manager
- Space Planning and Logistics Leader
- Strategic Site Planner
- Workplace Strategist
Strategic facilities management is less a job title and more an approach, which is why it often gets confused within the industry. Strategy is key in bringing facilities together, so many companies proactively seek strategic individuals by putting this qualifier in the job title. Not only does it help to attract the right candidates, it gets them thinking about strategy right away.
As digitization transforms the workplace, facilities management is impacted more by Big Data. Individuals interested in a facilities management career path need to get familiar with collecting and processing data. To that end, they become an analyst of sorts. Hence, the influx of analyst-focused job titles within the facilities management field:
- Facilities Planning Analyst
- Facilities Program Analyst
- Facility Maintenance Analyst
- Real Estate Analyst
Like the “strategic” segment of job titles, adding “analyst” to the facilities manager job title presents the job as what’s expected. Anyone applying for this position should be comfortable with data and knowledgeable in how to put it to work. The demands of a traditional facilities position still exist, but they’re expected to be data-driven. After all, what’s an analyst without data? What are facilities without insights to shape them?
Different names for the same thing
Still confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thankfully, “facilities manager” is the operative title in most job postings and in most professional circles. If you’re asking questions like “What certifications does a facility manager need?” or “How much does a facility manager make?”, you’re going to get the information you need. The only time you’re likely to encounter a lesser-known title is if you’re looking into a specialized field.
While you’re not likely to run into most of these titles, it still helps to know them. You might even glean a thing or two in understanding the reasoning behind them.
Keep reading: What is a facilities manager in today’s modern office?