Europe's second largest

14th of September 2011
Europe's second largest

The French cleaning sector now ranks second in Europe in terms of turnover - according to latest statistics. Christian Bouzols, ECJ reporter, explains the details.

This news can be considered as good given other gloomy news about the French economy. Despite a greater than forecast slowdown in the creation of new cleaning jobs, the French cleaning industry ranks second in Europe in terms of its turnover.

With total sales of 11.021 billion euros it has now reached second continental position. France accounts for 18 per cent of the total European turnover, just behind Germany, which accounts for 19 per cent of the European cleaning business. The two countries are followed by Italy (14 per cent), the United Kingdom (14 per cent) and Spain (13 per cent).

For the whole of Europe, contract cleaning had a turnover of 62 billion euros in 2009. In France, there has been a marked slowdown in the employment growth rate for the sector  (+0.9 per cent in 2009 against +3.76  per cent in 2008). There was also a slowing down in the growth of total turnover - a consequence of the global economic crisis that started in 2008. Final figures for 2010 haven't yet come out but no miracle or dramatic increase of activity is to be expected. What we know already is that the cleaning sector is France's sixth largest employer, with 436,000 employees.

Its turnover is only marginally lower that of the German cleaning sector. This is quite a decent outcome in these economically difficult times.

In the European Union, 3.75 million people are currently employed in the cleaning sector. France's 463,000 cleaning workers represent 11.56 per cent of the European sector workforce, against 22.97 per cent for their German counterparts. Spain, which is fifth in terms of turnover, is second in terms of cleaning worker employment, at 12.14 per cent, ahead of Britain, at 12.06  per cent.

It can be noted that in France the growth of cleaning sector turnover (+0.9 per cent in 2009) has been well correlated with the growth of the workforce (+0.9 per cent in 2009). Those two figures are satisfactory in the context of a fall of total employment in France since 2007 (-0.63 per cent in 2007 and -1.55 per cent in 2008).

But although the cleaning sector is quite vigorous, the cost of labour in France acts as a break to the creation of new jobs in comparison to the situation in the rest of the EU. On average, French cleaning workers get three per cent over the official minimum wage, which is 9.22 euros per hour gross.

It can also be noted that for the first time, the French cleaning sector has lost two per cent of its companies between 2008 and 2009. Normally, 2,000 new cleaning companies are created every year. That's a sure sign that the global crisis has hit the French cleaning sector which so far had managed to weather the various economic downturns that had occurred.


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