The Cleaning Industry: More than just mops and dusting

By 3rd March 2017News

Cleaning is often dismissed as a mundane task you do at home or work, and people often see it as a necessary evil. For those of us in the industry, we think this is a thoroughly unfair assessment of an innovative, highly valuable industry that has real potential for career growth. Several of our previous posts have explored how technology has brought about new advances in the technology and products we use to make our lives easier. We have also touched upon how cleaning is becoming greener every day and how it helps to save the planet. In short; if you look beyond the surface, you will see a vibrant and exciting industry.

A report recently published by the British Cleaning Council (BCC) showed that the cleaning industry contributes more than £24billion to the UK economy.[1] That is much more significant contribution to the economy than people would normally assume. However, if you think about it, every business in every industry needs a cleaner. Every premises needs some sort of cleaning system or equipment, otherwise the whole area would become dirty, messy, unsanitary and unsafe.

Not only is the cleaning industry a giant in this country, it is growing rapidly. Take the example of the trade shows. The Cleaning Show is the UK’s premier trade show for the industry and since last year (2016), it has doubled in size and with over 6,000 already registered to attend the event next month. It has also been confirmed that almost 10% of those who have so far applied for their pass to attend are from overseas.[2] This very large and international crowd emphasises how well the industry performing.

So what makes this industry such an asset to the UK economy? Well for starters, the cleaning industry is one of its biggest employers, with more than 700,000 people. This is primarily due to the fact that workers across the cleaning industry are more likely to hold lower levels of qualifications than those in other sectors. A third of the workforce does not hold a BIFM level 2 compared with just 13 per cent across the economy. This statistic suggests that those without formal qualifications can still get access to a job, a trade, or a career before developing the skills required to launch their own businesses. This openly accessible industry creates great potential for career progression, for people have easy access to entry level positions which help them work their way to the top quickly.

There has also been a boom for small businesses and start-ups in the cleaning industry. The number of new businesses increased by 12% from 4,380 to 4,910 between 2014 and 2015, compared to the average rate of growth in all other sectors for new business start-ups, which was just 9%. During the same period the number of businesses that ceased trading rose from 3,600 to 3,725 between 2014 and 2015: this may be an increase of 3%, but this was much lower than UK average of 9.4%. There is always a high demand for good quality cleaning and maintenance services that will take effective care of a business. What’s more this high demand has not dampened or lowered wages in an effort to save costs.

The latest figures from 2015, show that wage growth in the sector is higher than the national average; the sector wage increase was 6.4%, compared to the national average of 2.3%. This is most likely due to the fact that turnover has increased by 21% since the recession of 2010, and this is greater than all economy growth, in which turnover increased by just 17%. Turnover in the sector is set to keep on growing for the foreseeable future, as the demand for cleaning services increases. The industry is continuously evolving; It is expected that there will be employment growth across higher level occupations, such as the C-Suite and managerial levels. The cleaning sector is expected to have 467,000 job openings between 2014 and 2024: 84,000 industry growth and 383,000 replacement demand.

If you are thinking of a career in the industry but want to hold more advanced qualifications, don’t worry. You are not alone as, by 2024, 50% of people employed in the industry are expected to be qualified at a BIFM level 4 and above, whilst those with no formal qualifications are expected to fall to 4%. There is even a bursary scheme for young persons in need of help with their finances while they study. The CHSA Bursary assesses applicants according to need, worthiness, endeavour, and overall performance.

The Bursary is open to the sons and daughters of CHSA members who on 1 September 2017 will be 18 years or over and will be commencing their higher education studies this year. The successful applicants will be awarded a maximum of £4,500, receiving the Bursary in three instalments: £1,500 at the start of each academic year or for the first three academic years, if the degree is four years or longer.

In summary, there are so many lucrative opportunities within this vibrant industry that many people often overlook. Our industry and what it can provide is growing, and with the advancements of technology and business practices, we are becoming greener, more efficient, and more profitable every day.

The Cleaning Show takes place at the London ExCel on March 14-16th and will have speakers from some of the biggest brands and trade bodies across the globe.

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