A tidy fortune in cleaning
Clean up by working in the building services sector. reports
CLEANING has typically been a career option brushed under the rug but those with a keen eye for opportunity are leaving others in their dust.
The industry requires no qualifications to begin but with study, experience and initiative, workers can work their way up to command six-figure salaries in senior managerial roles.
Still, those who do not aspire to head up the workforce can cash in working flexible hours day or night, earning on average $19 an hour – more than waiters ($15 an hour) and sales assistants ($18 an hour).
They can earn up to $30 an hour depending on their shift times and appropriate loadings.
The Building Services Contractors Association of Australia reports every business needs cleaners, providing sustainable work and growth, as with every new building built, more cleaners need to be employed.
National officer Barbara Connolly says there is some training involved to start with, and most companies run inhouse training programs to get new workers up to speed with using equipment and chemicals, but there are no formal entry requirements.
“Normally people think they can clean because they can hold a broom but when you’re working in the large commercial buildings, it’s a skill because they work quite quickly,” she says.
“It’s a labour intensive industry but people are well trained.”
Many workers leave it there, working the standard 6pm to 10pm shift for 20 hours a week, fitting it in around family obligations, tertiary study or their hobbies.
Full-time day shift work is also available.
Workers often focus on certain duties, such as cleaning wet areas or vacuuming, but can move to other duties as roles come up.
By studying a Certificate II or III in Cleaning Operations, however, they can learn to complete more complex tasks such as dry and wet foam shampoo and steam sanitising techniques; complying with, implementing and monitoring infection control policies; and cleaning food handling areas or restoring hard floor surfaces.
Employment locations can be CBD office spaces, shopping centres, major sporting grounds, international hotels, outback mine sites – or outside, abseiling down buildings cleaning windows.
Employment department figures show 259,600 people work as cleaning or laundry workers with most (147,200) employed in commercial cleaning, while 29,500 are domestic cleaners and a further 28,000 housekeepers.
After a cleaning course, David Stanley quickly found a full-time job.
1. COMMERCIAL CLEANER
NIGHT shift cleaner David Stanley decided on a career in cleaning after having trouble finding steady work.
Employment service Salvation Army Employment Plus set him up with a cleaning course and within a month of graduation he was helping clean a hospital.
“The hospital rang me out of the blue, I had an interview and they gave me a job on the spot,” he says.
“They are also training me up in other areas.”
Stanley says other people considering his line of work should get some experience behind them by doing a course or working in a related field.
“You get a bit dirty sometimes so you have to be able to deal with a bit of blood, wee, vomit,” he says.
“But I’m earning more than I have earned in a long time.”