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Contributed by Kaivac

There is considerable discussion about the problems cleaning contractors and others in the professional cleaning industry are now having finding workers. However, according to Matt Morrison with Kaivac, there is more going on than we may realize.

“I don’t call it a worker shortage,” says Morrison. “I call it job reassessment. Many people are reassessing the work they do, and this certainly applies to professional cleaning.”

His thinking correlates with a Pew Research Study released earlier this year showing that 66 percent of the unemployed 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. This is because:

 • COVID has made many people afraid to perform cleaning work.
 • Wages 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 has to do things differently,” says Morrison. “If workers are reassessing work, the cleaning industry must do some reassessing as well.”

As to reassessing, Morrison suggests industry professionals:
 • Re-evaluate wages.
 • Shift the perception of cleaning by recognizing its importance. “I believe cleaning workers have emerged from the pandemic as essential workers. They keep people healthy.”
 • 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.”