Survey finds a labor crisis in cleaning services is more of an issue than cost margins

According to a new report from SoftBank Robotics EMEA, the world leader in collaborative robotics (cobotics), labor supply is the biggest barrier for FMs in providing good quality cleaning services.

Almost half (46%) ranked it above traditional hurdles such as ‘cost margins’ (24%) and ‘demonstration value’ (22%), with nearly three in four respondents (73%) in total stating that they “always” or “regularly” have difficulty finding labour.

To help guide FM in designing solutions that address labor shortages and drive better outcomes for businesses, employees, and consumers, SoftBank Robotics undertook a survey of FM professionals in the spring of 2022 to know how the current labor shortage is affecting the industry, the greater challenges faced by FM professionals and the challenges of technology adoption.

When asked about the top barriers to labor supply, the most popular responses in the survey were “changes in immigration” (27%) and “employee expectations around compensation, ‘benefits and working conditions’ (27 percent), followed by ‘cleaning up the image of the industry’ (18 percent).

At a time when new technology could provide the solution to the cleaning industry’s labor supply challenges, SoftBank’s research revealed a significant knowledge gap in its adoption. While 79% agree that real-time data to measure cleaning services is important, one in three (30%) lack confidence or knowledge of what is available.

Respondents were asked to name the biggest challenges in identifying and implementing new technologies. The most popular responses were “cost” and “demonstrate ROI,” both at 26%. Related to these areas is the challenge of organizational buying, cited as a major obstacle for 15% of FMs.

Stefano Bensi, Managing Director of SoftBank Robotics EMEA, said: “There seems to be a paradox at play. The demand for cleaning services has never been higher at a time of growing labor crisis. Additionally, increasing employee expectations for cleanliness and hygiene have made the FM profession both a challenge and an opportunity. Forward-thinking FMs are exploring a number of innovative strategies to stay relevant, including the adoption of cobotic technologies.

SoftBank Robotics also surveyed 2,000 employees about their expectations for cleanliness in the buildings they occupy, from offices and hotels to cafes and restaurants. The results revealed that 71% would like visual reassurance about the cleaning regimes in the buildings they enter, while 33% said they would rather work from home than in a workplace or place where they hand off. into question the approach to cleaning and hygiene.

Therefore, there seems to be a mismatch between employee expectations and employer aspirations.

You can download the report here:

Comments are closed.