Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013 - (Page 165)

CLEANING CLEAN LIVING Brush up with a new career – one that will certainly wipe away the cobwebs... WORDS: Jamie Liddell | PICTURES: Shutterstock W hen times are tough, it’s always an idea to look for job opportunities in business sectors which are as immune as possible from the economic conditions of the day. Businesses that can tap into relatively constant demand – or at least demand that doesn’t fall off dramatically – are in a much better position than those subject to large fluctuations - and so, of course, are their employees. One industry which is currently proving better than many others at surviving the economic storm is the cleaning trade. No establishment – whether it be a hospital or a restaurant, an office or a shopping centre – can afford to let its premises become dirty or fouled up with litter. A lack of attention to basic cleanliness and tidiness even in one small part of an organisation can jeopardise the entire structure, with reputational damage potentially endangering the business as a going concern – and this is where the aforementioned consistent demand comes from, with organisations maintaining in-house cleaning and facilities management staff or, increasingly frequently (especially in high-density urban business districts), outsourcing it to specialists. Anyone thinking about a career in this industry will need to possess excellent people skills, managing teams possibly from very different cultural backgrounds and being able to inspire respect: cleaning can be hard work and it’s imperative for a team to believe that management is also prepared to muck in. It’s also crucial to display excellent judgement when it comes to hiring and deploying staff, as your clients are placing a good degree of trust into your organisation by letting your employees onto their premises. Many cleaning companies now provide services to public sector organisations, including health and education facilities. A familiarity with the relevant legislative framework is a must here – for example, regulations around working with children are tight and infractions can be heavily punished – and it also helps, especially at senior level, to have a robust understanding of the workings of local and even national government: as with any sector, a company’s sales effort can only be enhanced by good connections with the right people, and knowing who those people are and how best to present your business to them as and when contracts come up is a real competitive advantage. The specialist skills and equipment required for basic cleaning tasks are of course limited, and many companies specialising in, for example, office cleaning can perform very successfully with not much more than what would be found in the average household (albeit perhaps on a much larger scale). However, plenty of niche cleaning opportunities exist which require a much greater investment in equipment and training but which provide correspondingly greater revenues. Cleaning industrial sites, for example, could well require staff to wear specialised safety equipment and use a variety of hazardous chemicals; many companies still retain this capability in-house but specialist cleaning firms are able to make a lot of money selling their services. Those looking to work in this area would of course need much more detailed product and legislative knowledge than those seeking employment in office-focussed companies. 165

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013

Ed's letter
Meet Hilary
Dress for success
Bags of style
Onwards and upwards
The path to enlightenment
On the job
Under operation
Under assessment
Question time
Rising up the ranks
Law and order
Make your search social
On the books
Getting graphic
Sowing the seeds
Making contact
On the move
Going green
Get the cogs turning
Building it up
On the factory floor
Engineering change
Take it up a gear
A rainy-day career
Bank on it
Full house
Talk shop
A clean slate
Hungry work
Quench your thirst
At your leisure
All's fair and square
Head in the clouds
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Jobs and Careers - Hilary Devey 2013