By Chee Kit Ho, Director, Corporate Accounts and Facilities Management Support, Singapore

Recently The Straits Times ran a commentary on how Singapore transformed itself from a third world to a first world country within a span of over 50 years, and attributed the real estate industry as having played a pivotal role in this transformational change.

Against a supportive economic backdrop, Singapore has grown from swamp land to one of Asia Pacific’s prime real estate investment locations. This rich capital landscape has allowed for the robust development of Singapore’s building and facilities capabilities in order to expertly manage properties befitting of Singapore’s prime real estate reputation.

Providing the right cost and scale through specialist knowledge

In Cushman & Wakefield’s latest policy watch research publication, recommendations from the Singapore government in relation to an economic roadmap aimed at helping Singapore achieve growth in the medium term pointed to a need for specialist knowledge in the real estate industry in order to expand underground infrastructure and provide more flexibility for new innovative work arrangements.

In tandem with this upcoming trend, technology, innovation and sustainability will continue to be key drivers of real estate value. Applied intelligently, it will disrupt real estate dynamics, changing the economical and transactional landscape and making some forms of real estate obsolete. For example, research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield has found that corporate co-working continues to be the most transformational trend in the workplace. The environment, amenities, cost savings and flexibility that co-working space offers makes a great case for all kinds of occupiers including small businesses, start-ups and larger companies.

With the demand growing at 10-15% on average per annum across all regions, the size of co-working space is estimated to be at its prime. Innovative solutions such as co-working could provide the flexibility Singapore is looking for to propel itself into the next stage of its growth.

Hiring the right people for the right roles

As the real estate sector in Singapore moves into its next stage of growth, the war for talent will intensify. Today, facilities managers are being recognized for their contribution to shaping and strengthen corporate organisational culture where the needs and demand of employees are changing. As a result, soft skills such as diplomacy as well as cultural knowledge and understanding will become just as important as traditional functional skills.

With specialist roles in areas such as energy and sustainability and real estate financing becoming more abundant, organisations may also look to hiring talent from different geographical territories to provide better cross-border consultancy and services.

In fifty years, real estate and facility managers will have a broader range of opportunities that come with greater risks and new value drivers, which will in turn require long term planning. Now is the time to plan for these changes.

Ho Chee Kit_SmallChee Kit heads the Corporate Client group, and provides overall leadership for operational excellence, account management, and financial performance focusing on corporate customers. In addition, he is responsible for the Building Engineering team and Contact Centre, and ensures the smooth delivery of facility management services to meet client needs.