"The cleaning industry holds an estimated market value of 7 billion"
Direct Cleaning Services Ltd
There’s no denying that a great number of successful industries are found in the UK. However, with the prospect of Brexit on the horizon, the impact it will have on workforces in industries such as hospitality industry is a growing concern. As detailed in a study from the Office for National Statistics, around a quarter of cleaning staff are from overseas. This implies that existing the EU could indeed have a knock-on effect on the number of workers employed in this sector. The question is, how reliant is the British economy on the cleaning and hospitality industry and will its contribution deplete if hiring workers from abroad becomes more difficult? In this article, refuse sacks supplier, Fulcare, explores this further…
The cleaning industry – how valuable is it?
The UK is the fifth highest country in terms of the number of employees it has in its cleaning services. With around 448,400 people working in the sector, the industry holds an estimated market value of £7 billion. Beyond a financial value, the cleaning industry is considered to be one that will always be in-demand — after all, cleaning is a necessity across all other industries.
What does Brexit mean for industries?
The average amount of non-British workers across UK industries is around 18 per cent, but for the cleaning sector, it’s closer to 25 per cent. There is, therefore, a real concern regarding the potential impact Brexit could have upon the cleaning industry.
One owner of a UK cleaning company spoke anonymously to the Guardian at the start of the year, citing their concerns regarding the staffing issue Brexit could present:
‘For EU migrants, cleaning is often a stepping stone to a better job […] Several good workers have left to go back to their countries but there are none to take their place because far fewer people are coming to the UK to work.’
The jobs are not easily filled by native UK workers either, despite the 1.38 million unemployed within the country looking for work. The industry is often shackled to a dated and damaging concept, resulting in many people not looking at the industry in terms of a career choice.
There are, then, two main routes to consider (or indeed, a combination of the two). One, that whatever agreement is made in regard to Brexit, that non-British workers are still able to work without too much additional paperwork and red tape to navigate. The cleaning industry already felt that the process of hiring EU workers ought to be made easier (82 per cent). If moving to the UK to offer skills and trade becomes more trouble than it is really worth, we’re likely to see more people simply not looking at the UK as a worthwhile place to work anymore.
Another route is to revamp the image of cleaning work within the UK, to make it more appealing to those seeking employment. Many cleaning companies are already making viable efforts to do this — with 30 per cent investing in training and retention efforts for their current workforce.
Britain’s cleaning industry is unquestionably a major contributor to the UK economy, and it will be interesting to see how it’ll fare when (and if) Brexit happens early next year.