A topic that comes up regularly across our facilities management (FM) business is whether to change from FM provider to client side, and in some cases whether a change away from a client side position is the best career move.

Everyday our consultants speak with both employers and employees across every sector of business within facilities management. One of the most common requests candidates from within service providers have is that “The next move must be to client side.” The question is whether this is the right move or not. Do their expertise and career goals fit that change and are there roles available on the market to meet these expectations? 
It is important to highlight that a move from the provider side to the client side of facilities management is not always straightforward. The roles are very different from one another, as are the demands on the professionals performing them. As such, when considering a change each position should be carefully reviewed before determining whether one is better than the other. This is where the factors around each job need to be taken into account and compared with the individual’s expertise, and where it will all fit together.

Outsourced service providers

Working for an outsourced service provider, you are employed by the provider and contracted to an external organisation. Outsourced providers rely heavily upon each individual within their business, each employee is core to the revenue generation of the entire organisation and the main reason the business is able to continue operating. Each contract needs to be profitable in order for the company to exist and of course, grow sales.
If you are considering transferring from service provider to client, it is important to ask yourself the following key questions to help determine whether the move is right for you.

1. What is your personal expertise and how does it fit into the new role?

2. Why do you want to make the move and how will you articulate this in an interview?

3. What are your longer-term career goals? 

4. Will this move effectively bring you closer to your goals?

5. Do you completely understand the differences between the two roles?

6. What aspects of your expertise will be attractive for a position in-house?

7. Do you understand the demands of a client-side position and how they change the role?

8. What is the extent of your internal stakeholder management? One of the biggest challenges when moving client side.

9. How is the function of FM or property viewed within the business? Consider the reporting lines and how that will impact the role.

10. How will you enter that type of role at the start and effectively make the difference the business is looking to create?

Taking the time to question your motivations and personal experience is important in defining the next step. 

Client side

Working on the client side of FM, you are directly employed by the organisation and will operate in-house dealing directly with the stakeholders of the business. Client-side positions exist to create the best working environments ensuring the organisation operates effectively and that the interests of the organisation are being looked after. The overall FM function is to ensure that all employees are able to perform efficiently within their role but these positions include higher levels of stakeholder management and influencing. Key responsibilities may involve dealing with senior level individuals who are unhappy with the workplace and the effects it has on their job, team and/or the overall business. This is a tough role whereby professionals must possess excellent interpersonal skills to succeed.
Professionals looking to transfer from client side for a career change, generally have two options (not including interim).
1. Make a move to another client-side role with a different company, for a change of environment and new challenges.

In most circumstances the move to another business is relatively straightforward although the options can be restrictive depending on economic conditions and the movement within the market. Client-side positions typically arise based on the natural movement of jobs and there are rarely moments when we see large increases in the amount of roles available.

2. Consider the option of transferring from the client side to a service provider.

Transferring from a client-side position to service provider is typically a conversation that we are more likely to initiate rather than it being raised by the candidate. Nevertheless it is an option that needs to be considered carefully as we have seen some very successful moves at all levels.
Ask yourself the key questions to understand whether your motivations tie in with your desired job, if not, then maybe the next move needs to be about driving the expertise you have developed within the sector you currently work. A move between client side and service provider roles is always possible and it is important to assess the dynamics of the positions and how they fit with your next career step.


It is often brought up that working client side is the preferred choice, however this is often looked at without consideration for the impact on and personal goals of the individual. Initially, conversations about moving to an outsourced service provider are met with mixed responses following some bad experiences managing outsourced providers in the past. The view is often that providers are only out to make sales and drive profit which can be seen negatively, although easily understood. Any career move where you are changing from one job sector to another needs careful consideration, especially around your expertise and whether it will be a true motivator to your longer-term goals.
Within facilities management both functions play a hugely important role in developing and maintaining a productive work environment. Each role relies on the other to collaboratively ensure the workplace is as effective as possible and an enticing place for people to work at every day, to both existing and potential employees. There will always be more job options within the service providers as FM is core to the way the business generates revenue, transitioning in or out of the sector will have challenges, one isn’t necessarily better than the other, you just need to consider where your skillset is best suited.
If you are considering making a career move and are unsure about your options, please get in touch with our team today to discuss.
Hamish Lowe
Director – Property and Facilities
With my relocation to the US this month, please contact the leader of our Facilities Management team for any enquires.
Kieran Dines
T: 0207 269 2129