Plenty of job prospects in French cleaning sector

16th of September 2019
Plenty of job prospects in French cleaning sector

Christian Bouzols reports from France on how the professional cleaning sector is tackling its manpower shortage by setting up a number of new training schemes.

It’s been known for some time that the industrial cleaning sector in France lacks manpower and is currently recruiting in a big way.

Given this situation, the French cleaning federation has set up a number of training schemes, some of which take the form of work-study programmes, and others of apprenticeships.

In the words of Magali Melenotte, who manages the Federation’s apprentice training centre at Villejuif, near Paris: “People don’t always come here because they’ve got a special calling for cleaning, but rather because there are jobs on offer. This year, we’ve got capacity to train 375 people and have received some 300 candidates. At the end of their training, they’ll all be sure to find a job.”

Another example of this positive employment situation is given by Skyscraper, a cleaning contractor based at Saint-Germain-les-Corbeil (Essonne département). In that company, things are done in reverse order: first they recruit, then they train!

Among the 18 workers it sends out to clean the windows or dust the streel structures of high-rise buildings in the Defense business area of Paris, there are former masons and former painters - who of course aren’t afraid of heights - but also people who had applied to the company without any experience at all, explains Olivier Desnous, general manager.

“In my time, you needed to be a potholer or a rock climber or, like me, you learned on the job, adds Desnous. “Today, before being sent out on the field, our people have to undergo a five-week training course.

They can also complete a work-study programme.”

After two years on the job, a Skyscraper worker earns between €2,000 and €2,700 net per month. However, he or she can improve this by working overtime, which is paid at higher rates. “As with all jobs in the services industry, we have to make ourselves available to the customer. We can therefore be called to work on a Saturday, on a Sunday and even at night. In such circumstances, it would be most unusual for a worker not to earn more than the basic wage,” Desnous explains.

Although inclement weather can put someone off, Olivier Desnous has plenty of arguments to attract young people. “Without any initial qualifications, you can earn quite good wages. But you need courage and the drive to earn the required qualifications. This is also a rewarding activity because it’s not something everybody can do.”

That’s also why, in all the specific areas of industrial cleaning, people with the right profile are very much sought after and never unemployed.


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