UK Cleaning sector contributes £49.9bn to the economy with 914,000 employees

Date: 03rd May 2019

Established in 1982, the British Cleaning Council (BCC) is the authoritative voice of UK cleaning, a sector worth over £24bn a year to the country’s economy and one which employs over 700,000 people. The Council’s membership is made up of over 20 trade and membership associations which are all linked to the cleaning and hygiene professions. From contract cleaning to waste management, pest control to housekeeping, training providers to machine manufacturers, chemical suppliers to wheelie-bin washers – the BCC coordinates, campaigns and supports the affairs of the whole of the UK’s cleaning industry.

In March they published the most comprehensive research into the UK’s cleaning industry ever undertaken. For the first time the BCC has also broadened the scope of its research to include data from across the cleaning, waste management, landscaping and FM sectors. Combined the BCC has calculated that these industries contributed £49.9bn to the economy in 2016, while the number of employees totalled 914,000.

The report further reveals that between 2010 and 2018 there has been a 38% increase in the number of companies involved in cleaning, waste, FM and landscaping services, rising from 45,970 to 63,490.

With the potential impact of Brexit still uncertain, the BCC’s research also highlights that while 19% of employees working across the four sectors are foreign born, this rises to 28% within commercial cleaning.

Other key metrics linked to the cleaning, waste management, landscaping and FM sectors revealed in the sixty-page document include the following highlights:

·       Between 2010 and 2018, the combined turnover within the four sectors rose by 34% – over twice as much as the UK average

·       Within the four sectors, 88% of businesses employ less than 10 people

·       29% of all vacancies within the four sectors were described as ‘hard to fill’

·       With a predicted growth rate of 9% over the next five years the four sectors are set to generate 93,000 jobs by 2024

·       With older people leaving the industry, a further 436,000 vacancies are set to be created through ‘replacement demand’

The BCC’s research – which is broken down by individual sector as well as reporting on the collective figures from across the cleaning, waste management, landscaping and FM industries – also captures data relating to differing wage levels, skills and qualifications, business survival rates, regional differences, job roles and training. It looks at wider issues such as health and safety, the Labour Market Enforcement Strategy, business rates, technology and the environment.


Stan Atkins, Chair of the BCC, said:

“With over twenty different trade and membership organisations within the Council that cover every facet of the cleaning, waste management and FM industries, we have decided to widen the scope of our research. However, we have also broken the data down to highlight each sector’s specific employment profile and its contribution to the UK economy. What the report reveals is that regardless of which sector you are involved in, there are fundamental challenges facing everybody. For example, we have calculated that tens of thousands of jobs are set to be created over the next few years but that we are also expecting a chronic shortage of people prepared to take them. Furthermore, as people retire from the industry, we are also losing a wealth of skills and experience.”


They acknowledged that increased automation could help to plug some of these gaps, especially with regards to low-skilled, repetitive and monotonous tasks. But despite the great strides and taking in the development of autonomous technologies no amount of robotic scrubber-dryers, IoT-enabled soap dispensers or window cleaning drones will be able to replace the skills that the sector is losing.

For a copy of the report email

Christian Berenger, Managing Director of Ezitracker workforce management technology commented:

“This report is so encouraging. We know it’s a tough market. We also know that cleaning companies embracing digital are already challenging the traditional facilities management business models. We are seeing a huge upturn in demand for our workforce management technology in this sector. Workforce management technology allows gathering data and analysing it real-time, it helps them to work smarter, create efficiencies and raise standards. Businesses in this market will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to embrace new technologies.”

Ezitracker technology enables employers of large and small workforces to reduce absenteeism, lower costs via automation, and increase productivity and efficiencies.


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