EFCI publishes European contract cleaning sector report

6th of May 2015
EFCI publishes European contract cleaning sector report

The European Federation of Cleaning Industries (EFCI) has recently published its latest survey of the contract cleaning industry in Europe. All data relates to 2012 and shows a good recovery from the severe economic crisis between 2008 and 2010. Total turnover increased by 4.83 per cent over the two years 2010-2012.

For the 19th time, the European Federation of Cleaning Industries has published its annual survey on the contract cleaning industry in Europe. Data is gathered through the EFCI member associations across the EU and this year’s report features figures from the year 2012.

In that year cleaning contractors achieved a total turnover of 64,522 billion euros in the 20 European countries covered by the survey. This represents a healthy recovery from the financial and economic crisis of 2008-2010 – with net growth of 4.83 per cent between 2010-2012. This could be down to higher productivity gains and the continuous increase in market penetration. On average, annual turnover growth in the industry over the last 22 years is at 9.1 per cent.

Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK are the five largest national markets, representing around 70 per cent of total European turnover. Three of the five largest markets in Europe (UK, Italy and Spain) decreased while Germany and France registered a strong growth.

Market penetration by contract cleaning firms has been growing steadily in recent years and is now at a level of around 66 per cent, up by 1.3 per cent compared to 2010. This means 34 per cent of cleaning is still performed in-house, representing significant opportunity for further development of the sector.

Office cleaning remains by far the most important segment in terms of turnover for the contract cleaning sector (49.5 per cent), a decrease of one per cent compared to 2010. As the previous survey highlighted, the relative importance of office cleaning has continuously decreased since 2002 and dropped below 50 per cent in 2008.

The small increases in the other segments were registered in ‘shops and commercial sites’ (+1.01 per cent), as well as in ‘schools and leisure’ (+0.76 per cent) followed by ‘façade cleaning” (+0.19 per cent) and ‘hospitals’ (+0.17 per cent). The diversification of activities towards integrated services, facilities management etc, is happening in all EU member states.

The total number of cleaning contractors in the 20 countries covered by the survey exceeded 176,900. This represents an increase of 27 per cent over two years (2010-2012), an average rise of 13.5 per cent per year. The number of companies increased in the majority of countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Companies employing more than 500 people (about 1.36 per cent) achieve almost half of the total turnover in the industry. However, in absolute figures the cleaning sector is still very largely dominated by small companies – around 76.4 per cent of them employ fewer than 10 people.

Turnover by company increased by 1.46 per cent on average across the EU, from 437,000 euros in 2010 to 444,000 euros in 2012. This small increase is attributed to organic growth and the increase in outsourcing.

In 2012 more than 3.32 million people were employed in the cleaning industry, up from 3.317 million in 2010 – an average growth of 0.05 per cent per year. After the crisis between 2008 and 2010 many companies were forced to reduce their employee numbers in all European countries but employment is now on the up again. In fact the average annual employment growth for the industry over the last 22 years is 4.35 per cent.

Germany remains the largest employer in absolute figures (17.5 per cent of the total workforce) with an employment growth of 9.2 per cent (+48,897 employees) between 2010 and 2012. It is followed by France, the UK, Italy and Spain (all between 14.13 per cent and 10.38 per cent of the workforce). In total around 68 per cent of the sector’s workforce is employed in those five countries.

Productivity in the industry showed a strong increase in 2012, with the average turnover per worker at 24,800 euros – a rise of 20.5 per cent compared to 2010 (20,640 euros). This figure should be regarded cautiously, however, says EFCI because it is caused mainly by data updates and new calculation methods in Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway. So in reality the national situations in most countries have only changed slightly, with only Slovenia, Belgium, Austria and Spain showing important actual increases.

In terms of work organisation, cleaning still remains an occupation predominantly performed outside the usual periods of occupation of the premises. This is particularly true for office cleaning, but also applies to commercial premises or buildings with public access. On an EU average, cleaning services are carried out either early in the morning (24 per cent) or in the late afternoon/early evening (38 per cent).

In Norway, Finland and Sweden however, daytime cleaning has become the norm and represents respectively 80 per cent, 75 per cent and 70 per cent of the total. Poland is at the fourth place with 50 per cent of cleaning services performed during the day followed by Denmark and Belgium, where it covers almost half of the total. In the rest of Europe, daytime cleaning remains limited - the average of 32 per cent is reduced to 12.7 per cent if those six countries are not taken into account in the calculation.

This illustrates the continuing reluctance of clients to accept daytime cleaning solutions. In their Joint Declaration for the Industry, the EFCI and UNI-Europa stress the benefits daytime cleaning is offering to clients, contractors and employees and show their support to all initiatives aiming to increase daytime cleaning.

Part-time work remains the most frequent form of employment in the industry and covers 67 per cent of the workforce. Finland, however, is one of the examples where full-time employment has taken over. In 2001, part-time work accounted for 60 per cent and this steadily decreased over the years to be stabilised at the level of just 31 per cent in 2012. Together with Poland (30 per cent), the two countries have the lowest levels of part-time work in Europe.

Traditionally women account for the majority of the workforce in cleaning, at 73 per cent of the employee total. Compared to 2010 the EU average of female employment actually decreased by one per cent. The only increases were registered in Sweden (+six per cent) and the UK (+two per cent).

It is interesting to note when looking at a longer timescale (2006-2012) that the average proportion of women in the sector has been steadily decreasing since 2006: from 77 per cent (in 2006) to 75 per cent (in 2008), to 74 per cent (in 2010) and finally to 73 per cent (in 2012).
Another characteristic of employment in the cleaning industry is a high proportion of workers from ethnic minorities or migrant workers. The EU average figure has remained stable since 2010 at 32 per cent.

•The Cleaning Industry in Europe report is available to purchase at 180 euros. Visit www.efci.eu


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