An analysis of the employability of Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners, an occupation vulnerable to the economic shocks caused by COVID-19, highlighting one opportunity to think differently about Orlando’s workforce.

For the past three weeks, in a series of blog posts, we have covered the business practice of skills-based hiring, what the skills of the future are, and identified the occupations most at risk from COVID-19 layoffs. These finding were all based off the new report by the Foundation for Orlando’s Future titled Re-Imagining Orlando’s Talent Supply: Skills-Based Hiring for Upward Mobility.In this fourth installment, we combine all these topics in a case study highlighting one opportunity to think differently about Orlando’s workforce.

The following case study focuses on the employability of Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners, an occupation vulnerable to the economic shocks caused by COVID-19, and answers three questions:

  1. What skills do Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners have that could help them transition to new roles?
  2. How could hiring a previously employed Maid add diversity to a business’s talent pipeline?
  3. What opportunities for upskilling and upward mobility do Maids have in the Orlando region?

Download the Skills-Based Hiring Report today!

What skills do Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners have that would help them transition to new roles?

In their work, Maids utilize more than just the housekeeping and cleaning skills with which they are most often associated. An analysis of job posts in Orlando for maids from 2019 reveals baseline skills demanded across industries that provide excellent opportunities for occupational transitions. Teamwork, customer service, building effective relationships, organization and communication skills are all required of Maids in their standard day-to-day work. These persistent, often requested skills appear in job posts for both low-wage and high wage jobs and are part of the “soft skills” employers so often say current candidates are lacking.

Expanding the analysis to view skills that are requested in fewer than 10 percent of job postings, trends  emerge that illuminate the more detailed skills and functions Maids are being asked to perform, even if they do not appear widely across job postings.

Building on cleaning and repair functions, recently displaced Maids may have skills in infection control, predictive and preventative maintenance and occupational health and safety training. This set of asset protection style skills will serve job seekers well in an emerging economy focused on reducing the spread of disease and reducing business operation risk.

On the other hand, Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners are also sometimes asked to perform caregiving roles, build effective relationships, be bilingual or speak Spanish, and generally have strong writing and listening abilities. Effective and personal caregiving is not a skill set that should be overlooked considering population aging trends. Sometime between 2025 and 2030, the number of senior citizens will outnumber children in Orlando for the first time in history. View the skills requested of Maids in Orlando job posts in the image below.

Top Occupation Skills

Includes skills requested in 3% of more of Orlando Job Posts, 2019

How could hiring a previously employed Maid add diversity to a business’s talent pipeline?

Skills-based hiring is the process of creating skill-focused job descriptions and judging candidates based on his or her concrete skills. It requires a mindset shift—one that encourages an employer to evaluate an individual’s skills and abilities instead of background and rethink job requirements.

Current hiring practices often assume that a degree is the only way to show qualification. However, with only 44 percent of adults age 25+ in Orlando holding an associate degree or higher, this greatly narrows Orlando’s talent pool. While a degree may be required for certain positions, an individual should be evaluated based on what they can do, not what they have done in the past.

In the graph above, we see that Maids are being asked to perform a variety of functions beyond just housekeeping in their current roles and they have the detail-oriented, teamwork, customer service and communication skills that are sought by employers. Simultaneously, Maids in Orlando are far less likely to have a two-year degree or higher when compared to Orlando’s overall workforce, which is illustrated in the chart below.

This combined data signal that Maids displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic may have the exact skills to perform required job functions but are removed from the hiring process because of degree inflation in job posts.

Focusing on skills-based hiring opens the talent pool to candidates who might have otherwise been eliminated too early from the hiring process and has the added benefit of diversifying talent pipelines. In a 2019 case study from PARIN, a skills-based behavioral assessment tool, Roy Cokery, vice president of customer care at Swisslog Healthcare Solutions, found that switching to skills-based hiring naturally shifted employee demographics. After implementing skills-based hiring, Swisslog’s minority hires increased from 10 to 27 percent.

In the graphs below, we see that Maids in Orlando are more likely to be Hispanic or Latino (38 percent of Maids vs. 29 percent on the overall workforce), a race other than white (32 percent vs. 25 percent) and much more likely to be female (90 percent vs. 48 percent).

What opportunities for upskilling and upward mobility do Maids have in the Orlando region?

Opportunities for upward mobility are career pathways that build on an individual’s existing skills and help him/her move into a higher paying job. The job titles shown below were identified through a skill-analysis of job openings in the Orlando region during the height of COVID-19 related shutdowns.

These opportunities are meant as examples to highlight how occupations typically thought of as “low-skill” share commonalities with higher-paying, more secure positions. For example, Maids and Industrial Engineering Technicians share skill demand in the areas of repair, preventative maintenance, and occupational health and safety.

Displaced Maids who were to fill skill-gaps in machinery, schematic diagrams, or welding, either through rapid credentialing programs or on-the-job training, would be able to transfer skills they currently posses into a new, hire paying position.

To put it another way, the examples above illustrate skill-transferability for vulnerable workers and provide insight for targeted upskilling approaches.

To see examples for two other occupations, Waiters and Waitresses as well as Cashiers, or to simply learn more about skills-based hiring methods, download the full Skills-Based Hiring report.

If your company has found success with changing hiring practices to be more skills-based or removing credential requirements in job postings, please contact Senior Director of Talent Initiatives for the Partnership, Danielle Permenter, so that we can share your story.