How was 2022 for the BSCAA What were the highlights and challenges?
2022 has proven to be a very productive year for BSCAA with several highlights. One is the Cleaning Performance Standards proposal submitted to Standards Australia in June 2022.
This joint proposal from BSCAA and HPC Solutions was developed with industry consultation over two years. The Cleaning Performance Standard will offer the industry a mechanism that defines five cleaning activities and a proposed auditing method. With the prospect of a standardised cleaning performance measure, benchmarks can be established, and common terminology and definitions can be adopted in cleaning scopes. Importantly, it will assist property owners and managers along with cleaning contractors. Another highlight was the appointment of a CEO for the organisation. The CEO will bring together the state divisions and lead the framework for the creation of a single BSCAA entity along with establishing and working on strategic objectives, long-term goals, and membership growth.
We also made great progress as an association with several initiatives gaining traction. These included advocating for lifting the restrictions on student visas in the cleaning industry, continuous updating of HR documentation to cover WHS, vaccination, mental health, and ESG, information for small businesses affected by the floods in several states, and continuous work on the compliance program.
What are your main priorities for 2023?
Restructuring the BSCAA model from a state federation style to a single national entity and embodying consistent goals and purpose, is key for 2023. The new structure will see a single membership model to better advocate and represent its members. Businesses will be joining the national BSCAA, not a state branch. Consequently, members will enjoy and have full access to all the benefits and services the national organisation offers.
Compliance remains a major priority, and we look forward to rolling out the first stages of the BSCAA compliance program in 2023. With upcoming amendments to IR legislation, BSCAA will focus on ensuring that the compliance program encapsulates these updates and that members have the resources, education, and tools to meet these changes.
BSCAA aims to strengthen its voice in the industry in 2023. It will focus on campaigning to cleaning companies of all types and sizes to join so we can better support and advocate for members along with representing and promoting the industry to government, property owners and managers, and other stakeholders.
What are some of the fresh challenges the marketing is facing?
BSCAA views the following as the three main challenges currently facing the industry:
• Staffing shortages and attracting workers to the cleaning industry
• Rising costs for businesses – insurance, fuel, supplies, wages, etc
• Working alongside governments on required policy and legislative changes
With unemployment being at a record low and a plentiful job market the industry is finding it harder to find cleaners and retain staff. There is a real challenge attracting workers to the cleaning industry when government drivers incentivise workers into the childcare, hospitality, and aged care industries.
Businesses are feeling the impact of the lack of workers and the struggles to retain existing staff. This has resulted in stagnated business growth, missed opportunities, an inability to deliver all contracted services, and added pressure to keep within contract budgets with above-award wages to retain workers.
During COVID, cleaners were the frontline workers who continued working to provide safe places for essential workers. If there were incentives such as funding in training for entry-level cleaners and funding for Cert IV in specialised cleaning, this would assist in attracting and retaining staff along with providing a pathway for career development.
Inflationary pressures are hitting the cleaning industry harder than most, as contracts are often set several years in advance with no or low predetermined annual increases. The continuous rise in the cost of all supplies is severely impacting contract budgets. Legislative increases coupled with insurance increases; it just doesn’t seem to be easing anytime soon.
Now with cybersecurity concerns, this will push businesses to assess their current cybersecurity levels. Updates and improvements may result in additional costs to ensure that intellectual data and employee data are protected. Increases are across most industries; unfortunately, these increases will result in cuts somewhere. The question is, where.
What opportunities do you see for the industry in 2023?
The cleaning industry opportunities are in areas where clients are encouraging staff to return to the workplace and must give staff the assurance that the working environment is safe and hygienic. Clients are more COVID-aware, meaning they have more of an understanding of high touch point and disinfecting. Therefore, clients are amending cleaning specifications to include these tasks more regularly.
As we face the changes in IR laws, there are opportunities to build conducive relationships between contractor, union, and facility management. With the Federal Government’s drive for “Better Wages, Secure Jobs”, it is important for transparency of costs and compliance. Facility management will be pushed to drive down costs, especially after the financial impacts of COVID, but the reality is with the drive for higher wages comes
higher costs for clients – cause and effect.
What do you expect to be the big trends this year?
We predict that there will be an increase in cybersecurity within cleaning businesses. Due to the current mishaps, there will be a need to reassess the risk appetite for a cleaning business if they were to have their intellectual data, such as tender documents, contracts and, more importantly, private information about employees, hacked. This could also bring about the need for enhancements in payroll technology, better security, and more robust software to mitigate payroll errors.
Is there a message that you would like to share with the industry?
As the cleaning industry faces the next wave of changes and economic impacts, there is something to be said about being part of an association that understands and advocates for the industry. There is so much more strength and support when a business is part of a group of businesses rather than standing alone. Being in
an association such as BSCAA gives the power to act and make changes for the betterment of the industry.