Pam Magazine: Half of Faces are New, All of the Time
Major property services companies have a turnover rate amongst cleaners as high as 60% per year. N-Clean and Lassila&Tikanoja have the highest rates.
PAM magazine obtained some hard figures from five companies operating in the property services sector, after asking them about staff turnover among cleaners and the factors affecting this. SOL Palvelut, N-Clean, ISS Palvelut, RTK-Palvelu and Lassila&Tikanoja responded. The following figures describe the situation among permanent employees, i.e. those with an employment relationship valid for the time being.
According to N-Clean, their turnover rate among regular staff is around 50–60 percent a year. This company has approximately 1,600 employees, around 1,500 of whom are cleaners, so the company is constantly recruiting and training new personnel. The situation is similar at L&T, a considerably larger company that employs almost 7,100 people in Finland. At L&T, at the end of 2012 the staff turnover rate was nearly 49 percent. This also includes employees other than the cleaners.
At RTK-Palvelu, employee turnover among cleaners is around 43 percent per year, including currently valid employment relationships and those that have lasted for over 2 years. Employee turnover at SOL Palvelut was approximately 30% in 2012. Service Manager Heidi Johansson notes that the turnover percentage varies greatly between different locations and sites.
Employee turnover rates among cleaners at ISS Palvelut are smaller: Communication and Marketing Manager Miia Eloranta informed us that 23.2 percent of their cleaners left and were replaced in 2013.
What is going on? Haven't there been campaigns of some sort or other to increase the sector's attractiveness, including the current programme to increase long-term earnings?
True, but the effects of these programmes are not yet evident. Eloranta of ISS Palvelut offers us a straight answer - low pay has an effect on employee turnover in the industry. According to her, various efforts have been made to reduce employee turnover, such as proactive improvement of employees' occupational welfare and placing an emphasis on supervisory work.
Johansson from SOL Palvelut also discusses the sector's lack of appeal. She puts the issue a little more delicately: there are challenges in terms of the sector's appeal and efforts are being made to resolve these challenges, together with PAM and Kiinteistötyönantajat ry, the employer organization for the property services sector. She also notes that tendering tends to increase employee turnover. The situation is probably similar in all companies in the sector.
The sector is typified by a large number of young employees and people who have entered the sector temporarily. N-Clean's HR manager, Liisa Lahtinen, tells us that the largest age-group among employees are those under 25. The company employs many students. Another large group are seasonal workers in Lapland, whose employment lasts from November to May Day.
"For many, this field is just the first step in their working lives", Johansson adds. 42 percent of employees at SOL Palvelut are under 30.