Editor in Chief Corinne Zudonyi

The U.S. unemployment rate currently sits at just 3.6 percent, which happens to be the lowest jobless rate since 1969. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to facility cleaning managers, since staff longevity appears to be growing within departments, but that doesn’t mean struggles don’t lie ahead.

According to economists, we’re setting records after almost 10 years of economic growth. A strong economy means opportunities for businesses, which could lead to expansion. Expansion inevitably leads to more cleanable space, and openings in custodial operations.
Currently, according to the “2019 Facility Cleaning Decisions Management Survey,” 53 percent of facility cleaning managers believe their department is understaffed and ill-prepared for a growing workload. In response, 46 percent expect to add staff to the department in the next 12 months. The struggle they’ll find is that there are more jobs than there are people — making for an extremely competitive job market.

This reality puts all the power in the hands of the applicant. They can pick and choose where they want to work, forcing departments to step up their game in terms of employee benefits. As outlined in our cover story, managers are offering more perks than ever before, and the move has made great strides with employee retention. One can assume it would have the same affect on recruiting, but even more must be done.

Managers are encouraged to take a long look at staff productivity and areas where processes can be simplified. Help set clear goals for the department, work toward an organizational structure that allows for a positive work environment, and focus more attention on employee engagement. Also, be prepared to increase starting wages.

According to our survey, starting salaries are already up, but economists believe even more might be necessary to attract and retain workers as the number of possible candidates dwindles. Some reports say annual increases of up to 4 percent might be imminent.

Whether managers are recruiting now or plan to do so in the near future, realize it’ll be the toughest job search yet.