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No More Janitors: Unpacking the Crisis in Janitorial Hiring

February 5, 2024

In the current job market, a critical shortage of workers is affecting various industries, with the janitorial sector being particularly hard hit. This shortage, a legacy of the pandemic, is driven by three significant factors that we’ll explore in this article.


#1 – The Great Reshuffle: Beyond the Great Resignation

In a trend known as the “Great Resignation,” a staggering 50 million people left their jobs in 2022, and 48 million did so the year before. By October 2023, the numbers slightly declined to 30.6 million. However, the real story is more intricate. Despite these high resignation numbers, more people are being hired than are leaving their jobs. Since November 2020, this pattern has been particularly noticeable in the janitorial sector, with employees moving to other fields for better pay. Thus, it’s more accurate to describe this situation in low-wage industries as “The Great Reshuffle.”


#2 – Immigration Trends and Their Impact

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the net increase in the U.S. population due to international migration was only 247,000 between 2020 and 2021. This is a drastic reduction of 76% compared to the peak increase of 1,049,000 between 2015 and 2016. Industries reliant on immigrant labor, such as janitorial services (where 38.2% of workers are immigrants), are feeling the pinch. If this downward trend in immigration continues, these industries may face even greater labor shortages.


#3 – The Female Workforce Dilemma

While there’s been an increase in the number of women in the workforce, not all is smooth sailing. In early 2020, about 3.5 million mothers had to quit their jobs, leading to a significant drop in female labor participation from around 70% to 55%. Although more women have returned to work since February 2020, the participation rate hasn’t reached pre-pandemic or the all-time high of 60.2% in early 2001. A significant hurdle for 27% of women who are unable to return to work is the responsibility of caring for children or other family members. This is a crucial issue for the janitorial sector, where over half the workforce is female.


Strategic Solutions for Hiring Challenges

To tackle the challenge of hiring janitorial staff, companies need to adopt innovative strategies. They should focus on attracting new talent and retaining their existing workforce. Offering better salaries, flexible work options, and cultivating a positive workplace culture can help businesses overcome these challenges. Understanding these trends is essential for janitorial companies to navigate their way through the current labor market crisis.