Cleaning hand rail in a lift

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) recently released new figures showing a record number of cleaners working within the UK.

Growth in numbers

The latest report, which was due to be released at the postponed Manchester Cleaning Show, has revealed the cleaning sector is now one of the top ten UK industries – employing approximately 1.63 million workers. This number makes up around 5% of the UK workforce.

The annual report, now in its fifth year, was calculated using figures from the BCC’s four core types of cleaning:

  • Cleaning activities
  • Facilities management
  • Landscape service activities
  • Waste and resource management

For the first time, the numbers also included cleaning workers employed by businesses and organisations in non-core cleaning industries, such as cabin crew who clean planes at turnaround and shopworkers who clean stores and shopping centres. This new approach of statistical research gives a more accurate and fuller picture of the scale and importance of the sector.

Growth in the economy

Between 2015 and 2018 the cleaning sector saw its most significant increase of employment at a growth of 5%. This increase was more significant than the whole of the UK’s economy, which grew by only 3% during this time.

With such a growth in workers, the industry has seen financial success. The BCC reports economic contribution from the cleaning sector was over £54.5 billion in 2018, with overall turnover increasing by 28% since 2013.

As discussed in our ‘Cleaning industry trends of 2019’ article, the move to go green has been one of the biggest growth areas over the last year. There has been a rising demand for both personal homes and businesses to find cleaner and more environmentally friendly ways to reduce waste and recycle more. This drive has been over a quarter (26%) of the turnover for the cleaning industry in 2018, with the expected monetary amount estimated at nearly £14 billion.

Growth for the future

Cleaners provide a vital service to the UK, ensuring that businesses, homes, schools, public spaces and more are clean and safe to use.

BCC chairman Paul Thrupp said: “The cleaning industry has long believed the overall employment figure for the cleaning industry was much understated by the official statistics for the core cleaning activities. So this report is a valuable contribution to the national conversation about the financial, environmental and social value of cleaning to the nation.”

The re-scheduled Manchester Cleaning Show will take place at EventCity on 15th-16th September. Unique IQ will be exhibiting its time and attendance software on stand F01.