EFCI news - workforce characteristics in the cleaning industry

16th of December 2019
EFCI news - workforce characteristics in the cleaning industry

In June 2019, the EFCI published its Trend Report The European Cleaning Industry 1995-2016. This statistical work presents a great deal of information about the cleaning companies in Europe and their evolution throughout the past 20 years.

The report builds on the past editions of the EFCI Survey published regularly since 1987 and on Eurostat’s most recent data. By using and sharing this report, the EFCI intends to promote the industry and enhance the sector’s competitiveness and image.

The cleaning industry is a highly labour-intensive sector. More than 3.9 million of men and women are working for the sector in Europe to ensure a healthy and comfortable living and working environment for all.

An important part of EFCI’s Trend Report The European Cleaning Industry 1995-2016 is devoted to analysing the distinctive characteristic of the workforce.

Employees and productivity

The cleaning industry employed close to four million people in 2016. This is a considerable increase over the 2.16 million from 1995 and corresponds to an average addition of 87,000 employees per year in Europe. The number of employees working in large companies (more than 250 employees) notably increased in the last 20 years.

At the same time, employees’ productivity increased by 69 per cent between 1995 and 2016, with a particularly high increase in the UK, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland.

Workforce characteristics

The workforce of cleaning companies is often characterised as follow: high ratio of part-timers, high ratio of women and high diversity. EFCI’s Trend Report provides us with figures to illustrate these trends.

The cleaning industry has the particularity to employ a lot of part-timers. Indeed, in 2016, almost seven out of 10 employees were working part-time. However, the ratio of part-timers decreased between 1995 and 2016 from 74 per cent to 68 per cent. The duration of work per week remained relatively low, only increasing from 22 to 23 hours weekly on average throughout the years.

Moreover, the sector is employing a high number of women: out of 10 workers, on average seven are women. However, female employment decreased from 75 per cent in 1995 to 71 per cent in 2016, demonstrating progressive incorporation of male employees into the workforce.

The workforce of the cleaning companies is also characterised by a high proportion of employees with migration backgrounds. Even if exact data on this subject is difficult to collect, the report shows that the share of migrant workers in the cleaning industry has increased during the past 20 years.

Shift to day-time cleaning

Cleaning services are still performed predominantly outside the premises’ usual periods of occupation (early morning, evening, night). This is particularly true for office cleaning, but also applies to commercial premises or buildings with public access. Nevertheless, Europe had a moderate shift with more classic working shifts implemented in 2016 than in 1995, with some countries excelling in daytime cleaning (eg, Finland).

EFCI’s Trend Report is available at www.efci.eu/wp-content/uploads/flipbooks/1/ and specific information about the workforce are available pages 26 to 31. For comments or questions, please contact secretariat@efci.eu.


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