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Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management sector, which is one component of the Property Services industry.

The Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management sector includes those involved in cleaning operations and management, carpet cleaning, waste collection, treatment and disposal, and pest management (including urban pest management). Pest Control is a licensed occupation, and completion of a vocational skills set is required in all states and territories except Western Australia. Though there are no occupational licences for those involved in Waste Management, facilities processing waste are licensed by states and territories.

There were approximately 29,517 businesses operating in Cleaning, 2,897 operating in Pest Control and 1,974 operating in Waste Management in 2018, with a large proportion of sole traders.

Nationally recognised training for Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management is delivered under the CPP – Property Services Training Package.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment levels in Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services fluctuated between 2001 and 2021, with stronger rises between 2009 and 2010 (from 166,600 to 188,000), 2015 and 2016 (from 198,700 to 214,400), and 2017 and 2018 (from 209,400 to 224,300). Employment levels declined in 2020 to 213,400 and increased again to 233,500 in 2021. Employment is projected to rise by just under 20% to approximately 276,600 by 2025.

Commercial Cleaners and Domestic Cleaners are the most common occupations in this sector, accounting for approximately 44% of the workforce between them. Commercial Cleaners are projected to have the largest rise in employment by 2025, increasing by around 5%, followed by Domestic Cleaners at just over 2%. The rest of the occupations in this sector are projected to remain relatively stable.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in the Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management sector have fluctuated since 2016, increasing to a peak of 9,430 in 2017 before declining to 4,910 in 2019. Enrolments increased in 2020 to just under 6,040. Program completions decreased by almost half (48%) between 2016 and 2019 (from 1,800 to 930) but have recovered to 1,470 in 2020. Almost all qualifications in this sector in 2020 were at the certificate III level (around 5,970 enrolments) with the rest at the certificate IV level. Over three quarters (77%) of enrolments in this sector were in Cleaning Operations with the intended occupation of Commercial Cleaner, followed by Pest Management (17% of enrolments) with the intended occupation of Pest Controller.

Enrolments in this sector in 2020 were mostly with private training providers (78%) and TAFE institutes (21%), with Cleaning Management qualifications solely provided by private training providers (100%). The majority of subjects were Commonwealth and state funded (65%) with the remaining funded by domestic fee for service (35%).

In 2020, the largest proportion of students enrolled in this sector were from New South Wales (42%), followed by Queensland (22%) and Victoria (14%). Similarly, approximately 46% of training was delivered in New South Wales, followed by Victoria (24%) and Queensland (21%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements in Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management have declined over three quarters (77%) since their peak in 2011, from 4,110 to just under 950 in 2020 despite recording small increases in 2016 and 2019. There were just under 170 completions in 2020, a decrease from 340 the previous year and down 94% since 2011. The most common intended occupation for apprentices and trainees in this sector is Commercial Cleaner (66%), followed by Pest Controller, and Recycling or Rubbish Collector (15% each). New South Wales (65%), Queensland (15%) and Victoria (10%) reported the highest proportions of apprentices and trainees in this sector in 2020.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.  

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the Property Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast the top generic skills for the Property Services industry as a whole, and therefore for the Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management sector, are:

  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) (Foundation skills)
  • Customer service / Marketing
  • Financial
  • Technology.

According to job vacancy data, the top generic skills in demand in the Cleaning, Pest Control and Waste Management sector are:

  • Communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Time management
  • Organisational skills
  • Planning.

In addition, the job vacancy data identifies the most in-demand occupations as: Domestic Cleaners, Commercial Cleaners, Labourers, Truck Driver (general), and Greenkeeper. The top employers for the sector include: ISS Facility Services, Cleanaway, Opal, Menzies Group and Wyndham Destinations.

The Property Services IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast identifies a demand for new and emerging skills in: infection and disaster cleaning, mould cleaning, robotic cleaning technologies, performance based contract cleaning, nontoxic cleaning and cleaning management in green buildings. The skills forecast notes that a proportion of short-term cleaning sector employees are unlikely to have training as the position of Cleaner is unlicensed.

The 2018 National Waste Policy identifies the need for a change to a circular economy, supporting resource recovery and recycling, and reducing the generation of waste. It highlights an opportunity for jobs growth with increased recycling levels, with 9.2 jobs created for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled compared to 2.8 for the same amount sent to landfill. The policy also notes that while the amount of waste produced per capita is decreasing, the quantity of waste produced nationally is increasing overall due to increasing population.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, in the 2018-19 financial year Australia generated 76 million tonnes of waste and spent $17 billion on waste services. Although 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste were generated, only 9% was sent for recycling (227,000 tonnes), while 84% was sent to landfill (2.1 million tonnes). Households were the largest contributor, supplying 47% of all plastic waste (1.2 million tonnes).

In the 2018 report, Analysis of Australia’s municipal recycling infrastructure capacity by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, contamination is a running theme affecting waste recycling. China’s restrictions on waste imports are identified as impacting the sector, as previously this accounted for 35% of our recyclable plastics and 30% of our recyclable paper and cardboard. Access to municipal waste collection is also identified as an issue, with inconsistent access to collection for different types of waste across jurisdictions. Organic waste collection is of particular note, as 58% of households do not have access to kerbside organic waste collection.

The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council’s report From Waste to Value: the Australian Waste & Resource Recovery Industry reveals in 2018-19 the waste and resource recovery industry supported both directly and indirectly over 106,500 jobs, and helped recover over 40 million tonnes of waste materials annually. Over half of all waste is channelled into productive use through recycling, composting and energy recovery, returning approximately $2.9 billion worth of materials back into productive circulation. The report also notes that over a five year period to 30 June 2019 the number jobs in the industry held by females more than doubled; however male employees still outnumbered females by four to one.

A Parliamentary report on the waste and recycling industry in Australia recommended, among other points, a phase out process for single use plastic, a national container deposit scheme and mandatory product stewardship schemes for products such as tyres or e-waste. These suggestions, as well as others in the report, are intended to reduce non-recyclable waste and create stronger incentives to reclaim material from landfill for recycling.

The National Waste Report 2020 explores some of the current and emerging challenges faced by the waste sector, including COVID-19 pandemic, export bans on some recovered materials (such as waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres that have not been processed into a value-added material), climate change responses and the role of single-use plastic.

The report Supporting the circular economy: South Australia’s waste strategy reveals South Australia’s target of zero avoidable waste to landfill by 2030 aims to stimulate action towards a circular economy. The potential benefits of a circular economy include local job creation and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This strategy will build upon current policy initiatives and activities designed to reduce waste, improve material and energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Strategy promises to ensure high-impact and specific action in new directions including food waste and single-use plastics, regulatory waste reforms, education and behaviour change, and, importantly, supporting market development and remanufacturing.

The Property Services IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast suggests urbanisations, regulation and sustainability are key factors impacting this sector currently. Urbanisation and connected population growth are creating higher density suburbs, driving up volumes of waste. This increase may also be leading to more efficiency in waste collection, meaning it does not necessarily translate into job growth. However, this urbanisation is likely to create growth in pest management, with higher population density often leading to more pests and therefore an increased demand for eradication. Government regulation aims at encouraging recycling has acted as a constraint on demand for waste disposal. Landfill levies and recycling targets are examples of policy changes that will impact the waste management areas of this sector.

The ACFIPS Annual Report revealed a key issue impacting the urban pest management sector in New South Wales included the decline in the Urban Pest Management Certificate III between 2018-19. However, traineeships have increased significantly in 2020 and 2021, potentially due to wage subsidies brought on by COVID-19 recovery plans. The report also notes that developing course materials is challenging as some operators aren’t involved in large scale industry.

COVID-19 impact

The Property Services IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast identifies a demand for skills in deep cleaning and hygiene cleaning in response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 has raised public awareness of the need for high standards of cleaning as a measure contributing to the health and safety of people. The cleanliness of private and public places is now more important than ever. A national training package review was completed in October 2021 which included ensuring infection control practice and management was embedded in the related training products.

According a recent SBS News article, international students constitute 30% of the workforce in the cleaning industry, but are restricted to working no more than 20 hours per week due to federal government regulations. While the government lifted working caps for international students for some essential sectors such as hospitality, food processing and healthcare, it was not increased for the cleaning industry. This has resulted in students opting for sectors such as hospitality and tourism where they are allowed to work more hours and leaving the cleaning industry.

This is supported in an ABC article, where staffing is named as the biggest challenge cleaning businesses face. The article notes that a lot of students left because they were not on permanent visas, with some going home and some moving to states with no lockdowns.

The Coronavirus Update – 29 October 2021 Mandatory Vaccination and Access Restrictions in Western Australia direction rules that primary healthcare workers, including ancillary staff members such as cleaners, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 December 2021 or they cannot enter or remain at a primary healthcare facility. These directions are being adopted across a wide range of occupations and workforces, including cleaners.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

IRC and skills forecasts

Property Services Industry Reference Committee

Relevant research

ACFIPS Annual Report Year ended 30 June 2021 - Arts, Communications, Finance Industries and Property Services Limited

Analysis of Australia’s municipal recycling infrastructure capacity - Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy

Cleaners shortage leaves offices, hotels vulnerable to Covid-19 outbreaks - SBS News

Cleaning - Artibus Innovation

Coronavirus Update – 29 October 2021 Mandatory Vaccination and Access Restrictions in Western Australia - FCB Group

From Waste to Value: the Australian Waste & Resource Recovery Industry - National Waste and Recycling Industry Council

National Waste Policy 2018 – Department of the Environment and Energy

National Waste Report 2020 - Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment; Blue Environment

Never waste a crisis: the waste and recycling industry in Australia Australian Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications

Supporting the circular economy: South Australia’s waste strategy - Green Industries SA

Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates - Australian Bureau of Statistics

What it's really like working as a cleaner at COVID exposure sites - Sam Kahandawala and Meg Watson

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association

Building Service Contractors Association of Australia

Facility Management Association of Australia

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association Australia

 

Regulatory bodies

ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate

NSW Environment Protection Authority

NT Department of Health

QLD Department of Health

SA Department of Health

TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

VIC Department of Health

WA Department of Health - Pest industry licensing and registration

 

Employee associations

Professionals Australia

United Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Building 73 Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services industry, employment projections to May 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 8110 Cleaners and Laundry Workers, nfd
    • 8112 Commercial Cleaners
    • 8113 Domestic Cleaners
    • 8419 Other Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021   

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Building 73 Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services industry, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit Building 73 Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

                                                                                                                                               

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CPP Property Services Training Package, PRM Asset Maintenance Training Package.
  • Cleaning Operations
    • CPP10211 - Certificate I in Cleaning Operations
    • CPP20611 - Certificate II in Cleaning Operations
    • CPP30316 - Certificate III in Cleaning Operations
    • CPP31011 - Certificate III in Cleaning Operations
    • CPP31111 - Certificate III in Carpet Cleaning Operations
    • PRM20104 - Certificate II in Asset Maintenance (Cleaning Operations)
    • PRM30104 - Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Cleaning Operations)
    • PRM30604 - Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Carpet Cleaning).
  • Cleaning Management
    • CPP40416 - Certificate IV in Cleaning Management
    • CPP41011 - Certificate IV in Cleaning Management
    • PRM40109 - Certificate IV in Asset Maintenance (Cleaning Management).
  • Waste Management
    • CPP20216 - Certificate II in Waste Management
    • CPP20411 - Certificate II in Waste Management
    • CPP30711 - Certificate III in Waste Management
    • CPP30719 - Certificate III in Waste Management
    • CPP40911 - Certificate IV in Waste Management
    • CPP40919 - Certificate IV in Waste Management
    • CPP50616 - Diploma of Waste Management
    • CPP50811 - Diploma of Waste Management
    • PRM30504 - Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Waste Management)
    • PRM30509 - Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Waste Management)
    • PRM40509 - Certificate IV in Asset Maintenance (Waste Management).
  • Pest Management
    • CPP30115 - Certificate III in Urban Pest Management
    • CPP30119 - Certificate III in Urban Pest Management
    • CPP30911 - Certificate III in Pest Management
    • PRM30204 - Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Pest Management - Technical)
    • PRM40204 - Certificate IV in Asset Maintenance (Pest Management).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

CPP Property Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions 
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 73 Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services.
  • Employers
    • 8113 Domestic Cleaners
    • 8112 Commercial Cleaners
    • 899999 Labourers nec
    • 733111 Truck Driver (General)
    • 3623 Greenkeeper
    • 73 Building Cleaning, Pest Control and Other Support Services.

 

Updated: 20 Jan 2022
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