Sector Spotlight: Our Local Cleaning Industry

In June 2021, it was announced that wages of cleaners will go up each year over six years from 2023, after proposals by the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaners (TCC) were accepted by the Government.

These wage increases were implemented as the sector faces a serious labour crunch amid Covid-19, partly as a means to attract locals to the cleaning industry. Calls to value and appreciate cleaners, who are essential workers, have grown louder as border restrictions limited the use of foreign workers.

However, the cleaning sector first wants to clear up its image. It has long been vilified as a place “with no future”, perceived as hard work with long hours , and young graduates have indicated that they would rather work part-time as delivery drivers or salespeople than become cleaners.

In response, Chairman of the TCC and NTUC assistant director-general Zainal Sapari has been quoted as saying: “We want to attract a younger workforce into this industry. We want this to be a possible career that they can consider, compared to going into the gig economy.”

He went on to elaborate that gig jobs do not offer much in terms of skills upgrading for better career advancements, and that these workers would be better off in the long-run rather than staying on a full-time basis as delivery riders or private-hire drivers.

Piqued your interest? Here are some more facts about our local cleaning industry.


  • Cleaning companies must meet the Progressive Wage Model wage and training requirements for cleaners who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents

Under the PWM, the base salaries of cleaners who are Singaporeans or permanent residents will go up to between S$1,570 and S$2,210 in 2023.  The amount will increase by at least S$170 each year until 2028.

A full-time general or indoor cleaner, for instance, will qualify for a monthly salary of S$1,570 in July 2023. This is after a pay rise of S$258 – a nearly 20% increase from the recommended salary of S$1,312 in 2022.

In comparison, the PWM recommended annual increments from Jul 1, 2020 to Jun 30, 2023 was 3% a year.

The base pay of cleaners has risen gradually over the years and is now at S$1,236. It is due to rise to S$1,274 this July and to S$1,312 in July 2022 under the PWM.


  • Cleaning is a “sunrise industry”, especially for locals

The pandemic has shown clearly how important and essential this industry is. Cleaners are essential workers, contributing on the frontlines to keep Singapore safe from the spread of the disease.

Hence, president of Environmental Management Association of Singapore (EMAS) Tony Chooi called the cleaning industry a “sunrise industry”, as demand for cleaning and disinfection services will keep increasing in the new normal.

The demand is not limited to cleaners themselves, either. The widespread adoption of more cleaning technology, such as robotic floor sweepers, workforce management and other digital solutions means cleaning companies wish to upskill their workforce and improve the technological know-how of the cleaning industry, which translates to employment opportunities in engineering, manufacturing, and testing.


  • The industry guarantees career and wage progression, with a low barrier to entry

As mentioned above, the PWM wage model guarantees wage and career progression for cleaners and those in the industry. This is especially attractive as the cleaning industry requires little by way of certification to enter. Additionally, there are some 1500 cleaning companies in Singapore, and the number is growing as demand continues to rise.

Most cleaning positions do not even require O-Levels certification, making this prospect a boon for those who might not have the resources or time to chase degrees or higher learning. The industry is defined by what you make of it – a huge opportunity for those willing to take the plunge!


Apply for a career in this industry now!