Service scope of Dutch cleaning companies broadens

19th of September 2013
Service scope of Dutch cleaning companies broadens

There has been a survey covering the cleaning sector in the Netherlands recently. ECJ correspondent Nico Lemmens of ISS Facility Services reports.

The Dutch cleaning industry consists of three sub sectors: institutional cleaning of buildings (71 per cent), window cleaning (10 per cent), and specialised companies (for example, salvage, cleaning in food industry, cleaning of transport facilities).

Total turnover in 2011 was four billion euros, of which 85 per cent was outsourced. The supply side is very fragmented, with about 11,000 companies employing almost 120,000 people.

Employment in the industry has stabilised. For the coming years a slight increase is expected towards 88,000 labour years in 2017. In spite of the economic crisis the number of cleaning companies has increased by 11 per cent. The number of single person companies has increased from over 6,000 in 2010 to more than 7,000 in 2012.

Vacancies decreased

On average, employees in the industry have 1.2 jobs. The number of vacancies has decreased from 23,000 in 2010 to 17,000 in 2012. After 2013 an increase is expected. In the period 2015–2018 the number of vacancies will be on average 27,000 per annum.

During the last few years the industry’s turnover has hardly increased. More and more cleaning businesses are broadening their service scope, often in collaboration with other facility services companies like catering and security companies. Healthcare is identified as a sector with much growth potential.

As reported in earlier columns of ECJ, a number of initiatives have been taken to improve the industry’s quality and reliability (for example, the Code of Responsible Market Behaviour).

New functions

Higher service levels demanded by customers require stronger levels of competence. Cleaning during daytime hours, for example, requires communicative skills. In healthcare daytime cleaning gives the opportunity to combine cleaning and care tasks. New functions arise, such as hospitality comfort employees. These employees combine cleaning tasks with servicing patients in transport, meals and clothing. In offices cleaning tasks are combined with plantscaping, small repairs, and refilling coffee machines and printers.

In the collective labour agreement parties have agreed to assure that newcomers get a basic cleaning course and, if necessary, a Dutch language course. More than 10,000 employees have already been through the basic cleaning course.

The industry offers job opportunities for people who may find it difficult to access employment in other areas of work. The cleaning sector offers excellent opportunities to cleaning companies to really bring corporate social responsibility policies to life.


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