The janitorial industry turnover rate has always been high. How has that changed over the years? And why does it matter?
We all know the janitorial industry turnover rate is high. We also know that high turnover results in a lot of headaches. Hiring is anything but easy. You never know exactly what you’re getting into. And while you may hire the best possible person for your team, you still have onboarding, training, and plenty of paperwork.
That’s not to say a good hire isn’t worth the effort. In fact, you build your superstar janitorial team with one hire at a time. But as you expand or promote people, it’s helpful to know what the janitorial industry turnover rate is like, and how it might impact you on a personal level.
Learn how to increase employee retention with time-tested software tools. Schedule a call with Janitorial Manager today to find out how!
Taking a Look at the Janitorial Industry Turnover Rate
How high is the janitorial industry turnover rate? That depends on who you ask. I’ve seen numbers as “low” as 75% and as high as 400%. Of course, statistics and data aren’t entirely clear, especially if we’re looking at industry sources vs. government sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
If we leave 2020 out of the equation, as it was an anomaly in almost every category, the BLS reports the average “annual total separations rates” are around 45% going back to 2017. Again, that’s across industries, from mining to manufacturing and retail to real estate.
In the “professional and business services,” which includes a wide range of occupations such as accounting, engineering, veterinary work, and, yes, janitorial work, the turnover rate averages about 64%. That’s higher than construction, education services, and retail trades. In fact, only the leisure and hospitality sector has a higher turnover rate. But how has the turnover rate changed? Or has it?
It’s steady. An interesting finding in those BLS statistics is that while the turnover rate in most industries skyrocketed in 2020, it remained relatively steady for the janitorial industry. For example, in educational services, the turnover rate rose from 29.9% in 2019 to 42.1% in 2020. In accommodations and food services, those numbers were 79.1% and 130.2%, respectively. In addition, real estate jumped by 10%, and the turnover rate in manufacturing increased by just under 13%. By contrast, for professional and business services, including but not limited to the janitorial industry, the turnover rate only increased by 5.1% between 2019 and 2020.
Why is that good? That would seem to indicate that the janitorial industry turnover rate, though high, shouldn’t go up too much in the years to come.
However, just because the rate hasn’t changed much overall doesn’t mean we can ignore it. Even if we go with the lower numbers, the average commercial cleaning company is losing half of its staff every year. And if those higher numbers are accurate, you’re replacing your entire janitorial team four times each year. That’s not a very sustainable way to run a business.
Rather than spending time checking on current customers and working on expanding your business, you’re hiring, training, and running around to cover every shift when people don’t show up.
So, why is the janitorial industry turnover rate as high as it is? The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) released a 2022 report highlighting some of the issues janitorial workers face. Among those issues are:
- Wages, with 62% of janitors classified as low-wage earners;
- Safety, with 32% of female janitors reporting instances of harassment;
- Insurance, with only 50% of full-time janitorial workers having health insurance provided by an employer.
In other words, employees have little incentive to stay in one job or with one employer. This creates a conundrum, of course, because the people who hire your commercial cleaning company are looking for competitive prices. And that doesn’t provide many avenues for increasing wages or providing insurance without raising prices, which can potentially lead to losing contracts.
There are solutions, though. You can raise your prices and increase your wages. You can offer insurance once you have higher revenue. And you can create a safe place for your employees to work.
This isn’t an immediate fix. It takes time to change things. One of the keys here is to stop competing with other janitorial businesses on price. There is always someone who can do the job for less. Your selling point has to be quality.
Yes, you charge more. You also have a more dedicated team because they get paid well, and they know their safety is your priority. They do higher-quality work because your success is their success. And you make it easy for your customers to get in touch with you through apps like JM Connect.
And to help on the revenue and earnings side of things, your team is efficient and organized, meaning you can take on more clients while keeping your own costs to a minimum. Sure, the janitorial industry turnover rate is high, but when you have a solid and loyal staff, that turnover rate won’t matter to you.
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