While cleaning and maintenance is far from the only industry to have seen employment significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are struggling to fill cleaning jobs.
The hunt for trained workers is proving difficult for many companies at present, and considerable discussion is being given to the problems cleaning contractors and others in the professional cleaning industry are having finding workers.
According to Kaivac‘s Matt Morrison, though, the current situation should be termed as a job reassessment rather than a worker shortage.
“Many people are reassessing the work they do, and this certainly applies to professional cleaning,” says Morrison.
A Pew Research Study released earlier this year found that 66 per cent of unemployed people have seriously considered changing their field of work since the pandemic.
However, Morrison adds that cleaning contractors may have more difficulty finding workers than other industry sectors, because, among other factors:
- COVID-19 has made many people afraid to perform cleaning work
- Wages within the cleaning industry are often too low to attract workers
- There is still a negative stigma about being a janitor, and many believe there is no future in cleaning
- Some former cleaning workers prefer working in the gig economy because it offers greater flexibility
- The industry is viewed as “low tech” by younger workers
“I wish I had a magic wand and could change the perception people have of cleaning, but the reality is [the industry] now have to do things differently,” says Morrison. “If workers are reassessing work, the cleaning industry must do some reassessing as well.”
Morrison continues: “I believe cleaning workers have emerged from the pandemic as essential workers. They keep people healthy.”
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Indeed, he suggests that in order to resolve the situation, the industry must address several factors.
- Re-evaluate wages
- Shift the perception of cleaning by recognizing its importance.
- Promote the fact that the industry is going high-tech.
- Make it easier to professionally train cleaning workers by using electronic tutors and other new technologies that provide video tutorials.
“This last point is crucial,” adds Morrison. “Well-trained workers feel empowered and valued. Once this happens, they see a future for themselves, the cleaning profession, and the industry.”