Survey reveals cautious mood

31st of July 2023 Article by Katja Scholz
Survey reveals cautious mood

German correspondent Katja Scholz brings news of the latest BIV survey of its members.

The Federal Association of Contract Cleaners (BIV) has been carrying out a spring business survey for five years now. This is where BIV member companies offer a picture of the mood in the sector and give their views on market forecasts, sales expectations and current issues. This year’s survey again took place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine but discussions concerning the four-day week and confidence in politicians have also played a part. From the end of March to the middle of April, 400 member companies took part.

The positive outcome is that the mood has lightened compared with the 2022 autumn survey.  Six months ago, the economic consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine combined with the global pandemic-related materials shortages and supply chain bottlenecks, along with price inflation, were still creating a noticeably gloomy mood. But how did it look in this spring?

Positive business outcomes were predicted by 40.5 per cent of the companies questioned, compared to only 31.3 per cent in the autumn, 37.3 per cent currently expect an unchanged business environment – while 22 per cent view the current year with negative expectations.

The reason for this lies largely in the still challenging recruitment environment. “The companies in our sector have a hugely important role with regard to integration in the employment market. Hence 20 per cent of the companies surveyed have managed, since the start of the war, to give (temporary) employment to refugees from Ukraine. It is, on the other hand, a sobering fact that almost three times as many - more than 60 per cent - have been unable to do so, in spite of their best efforts.

The reason given for this is more often than not bureaucracy,” explains BIV federal guild master Thomas Dietrich. “The fact the integration achievements in our sector are very high and that we stand for diversity and tolerance is evidenced by the fact just under 40 per cent of employees in our sector who are paying social security contributions still have no German passport.”

Along with the precarious recruitment situation, the survey also shows language barriers, lack of accommodation and childcare facilities account for the mediocre business forecasts.

The mood of the sector is equally sceptical with regard to the four-day working week, currently much discussed in Germany. In answer to the question as to whether this could be an important element in the recruitment of employees, on a scale of 1=unlikely to 10=very likely, the overall answer of 4.6 lies exactly in the middle.

The general attitude to free collective bargaining is equally problematic. In answer to the question as to whether companies still trust federal politicians to stay out of the upcoming round of talks on the legal minimum wage, the average response was 2.7 on a scale of 1=no trust, 10=complete trust. Last year’s increase in the legal minimum wage to €12 per hour gave rise to considerable criticism from employers to the effect this marked an end to it.

In 2022 the contract cleaning trade had already raised both its mandatory sector minimum wages to €13 and €16.20 in early collective bargaining with the IG BAU (construction workers’ union). On January 1 2024, these wages will rise to €13.5 and €16.70. “The significant difference between this and the statutory minimum wage will be preserved in the future,” said Dietrich.

Our Partners

  • ISSA Interclean
  • EFCI
  • EU-nited