research-report-96-coming-clean-contractual-and-procurement-practices.doc

On the other hand this share does not rise over 3

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particular London where their share of employment is 44%. On the other hand, this share does not rise over 3% across the other UK nations (Asset Skills, 2013a). 8 Also, around 136,000 migrants are estimated to work in cleaning occupations; that is, around 30% of the total workforce (UKCES, 2010). 7 ONS Business Population Estimates, which draw on HMRC tax data and Labour Force Survey data. Available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/business-population- estimates. 8 The report is based on findings from the Asset Skills Barometer, which is an ongoing survey which Asset Skills undertakes among employers. The employers that join the Asset Skills Barometer panel complete a questionnaire on a six monthly basis, by telephone. The number of responses for the data in this report is not stated. 22
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OVERVIEW OF THE COMMERCIAL CLEANING SECTOR These characteristics drive many of the prejudicial assumptions about cleaning work, which tend to reinforce the conditions of vulnerability in the sector. Research suggests employers often presume the job can be undertaken by anyone with very minimal training and that women may be suited given their ‘natural’ experience of domestic work. In accordance with these views, employers sometimes prefer to put up with high staff turnover rather than invest in career paths and pay progression (e.g. Dutton et al., 2008). Figure 4.1 Composition of the cleaning workforce, 2013 Source: Office for National Statistics, ‘Employment by occupation’. The cleaning workforce holds lower level qualifications than the UK workforce overall; 27% have no recognised qualifications compared to 7% nationally. However, a significant proportion, almost one in five workers, hold qualifications equivalent to Level 3 and above – a fact that runs counter to casual impressions of the cleaning workforce as unqualified (Figure 4.2). The workforce is comparatively old, with those between 45 and 54 years accounting for 26% and the share of young workers (under 25 years) relatively low – 10% of 16-24 year olds compared to 13% nationally (Asset Skills, 2013b) – which may have a negative impact on future staffing in the industry. 23
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COMING CLEAN: CONTRACTUAL AND PROCUREMENT PRACTICES Figure 4.2 Qualifications held by the cleaning workforce compared to total workforce, 2011 Source: Asset Skills (2013a: 27) The dominance of outsourcing The industry's growth since the 1970s reflects the extensive outsourcing of cleaning activities by organisations to specialised providers. This business practice has generated a strongly price competitive product market and a drive to reduce costs. Research suggests the balance of risk and distribution of profits may be unequal between cleaning firms and client organisations seeking to purchase contracted cleaning services. Large client organisations may be able to exploit their bargaining power by negotiating a lower unit cost with the cleaning firm. On the other hand, however, some cleaning firms may be able to withstand such pressures if the pool of potential subcontractors is limited, if the cleaning firm has greater expertise (either in
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