Purpose Based on a content analysis of facility management (FM) competencies from three key professional associations, BIFM, IFMA and RICS, the resulting identified competencies for effective FM were found to be somewhat diverse based on association affiliation. However, the majority of emphasis clustered around five competencies that all groups coalesced around, demonstrating the strength of these shared competencies as core for FM. Findings, Key among the findings was that the top five competencies included: Compliance & standards; Contracts & procurement; Maintenance & operations; Sustainability; and Projects. Further analysis showed that each association had unique approaches in specialized areas inherent to that association’s purpose and history. There were also striking omissions on several competencies which point to a need for further discussion on whether to update/add competencies to align with other professional associations. What was clear was the balance of mentioned competencies within the full range of competencies for all three associations. It was an unexpected result which merits attention, especially in light of global standardization initiatives. Design/methodology/approach A complete review of the methodology, analysis and findings is included in this paper, providing the ability for future research to develop standardization worldwide. With the current ISO standard for Facility Management (FM) undergoing task group development, these research findings are essential for addressing industry needs in a robust, academic way. Originality/value.Discussion of the results across the broad spectrum of facility management researchers involved in EuroFM is needed to enhance standards development and advance the research agenda for academic facility management education.