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Floristry

The floristry industry covers: floristry design and creation; retailing; and delivery. The majority of floristry businesses are small-to-medium sized enterprises comprising independent shops and flower-arranging services. They typically combine retail, manufacture and delivery. Many florists are part of a membership network, such as Teleflower, Interflora and Flowergram, which provide marketing and sales support, product and design development, as well as having international links. Flowers and plants are now much more accessible to the consumer, so independent florists have to compete with multi-nationals, supermarkets and mass produced products.

Recruitment difficulties tend to be the result of a lack of ‘practical floristry skills’.

There are concerns about the ageing workforce as a large number of people employed in this area are approaching, or have reached, retirement age, and there are not enough new entrants to the industry or experienced employees to replace them.

Key statistics:

  • There are 14,400 people working in the industry, in approximately 7,050 businesses.
  • 94% of businesses employ less than 10 staff, and 6% employ 10 or more staff.
  • Up to 70% of sales are undertaken via the telephone, but internet sales are increasing.
  • An estimated 1 in 8 floristry businesses units have closed down over the past year.
  • 9% of the workforce is male.
  • 23% of the workforce is under 25 years and 16% is aged 50 years or more.
  • 25% of the workforce has a level 4 qualification.
  • 9% of the workforce has no formal qualifications.
  • Recently, a number of career changers have come into the industry.

Jobs in the industry include: florist, business owner, demonstrator, sales/telesales and administration staff, floristry manager/shop manager

Entry requirements for this industry vary depending on the job role. Some jobs require no formal qualifications. However, relevant qualifications and experience can be an advantage, especially for higher paid job roles. Technical/specialist roles may require specific qualifications and/or experience, but some employers may invest in training a suitable individual. Volunteering or taking seasonal/temporary work can improve employment opportunities. There are opportunities for those wishing to change career.

Drivers of change in employment are:

  • Economic change – There has been a decline in discretionary spending by households, which has significantly affected floristry businesses.
  • Climate change – Businesses within the sector need to respond to climate change through improving sustainability skills, increasing accountability, planning longer term, protecting surrounding landscapes and scarce water supplies, and supporting biodiversity.
  • Globalisation – Affects the daily performance of businesses primarily through changes in global economic and social conditions.
  • Competition – Small businesses are under threat from severe competition generated by flower sellers including supermarket chains with in store floristry products but also from services available via the internet. Given the bulk in which these supermarkets purchase, they can easily undercut the traditional retail flower seller.
  • Health and safety – health and safety issues relate to the management, standardisation and enforcement of health and safety policies and practices in micro-businesses.
  • Labour supply – The replacement demands of the industry are not currently being met, as fewer younger people are entering the industry than older people leaving it.

Recently, the industry has undergone significant changes, which has lead to an increasing demand for high skill staff. There are skills requirements for:

  • Business and management skills (e.g. marketing and sales, planning and organising)
  • Technical/job specific skills (e.g. art and design)
  • Essential skills (e.g. literacy, numeracy, I.T, communication and customer relations)

National and regional data:

  • London – There are an estimated 2,300 employees in the regional workforce, in around 1,150 businesses.
  • North West – There are an estimated 2,050 employees in the regional workforce, in around 1,000 businesses.
  • West Midlands – There are an estimated 1,650 employees in the regional workforce, in around 800 businesses.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber – There are an estimated 1,650 employees in the regional workforce, in around 700 businesses.
  • South East – There are an estimated 1,600 employees in the regional workforce, in around 800 businesses.
  • East of England – There are an estimated 1,600 employees in the regional workforce, in around 800 businesses.
  • Scotland – There are an estimated 1,450 employees in the regional workforce, in around 700 businesses.
  • South West – There are an estimated 1,350 employees in the regional workforce, in around 650 businesses.
  • East Midlands – There are an estimated 1,000 employees in the regional workforce, in around 500 businesses.
  • North East – There are an estimated 700 employees in the regional workforce, in around 350 businesses.
  • Wales – There are an estimated 800 employees in the regional workforce, in around 400 businesses.
  • Northern Ireland – There are an estimated 500 employees in the regional workforce, in around 250 businesses.

Pay scales in this industry are variable, so the following only provides an indication of annual salary paid to some full-time positions:

  • Earnings for new entrants to floristry can be around the National Minimum Wage
  • Experienced florists can earn around £16,000 to over £18,000
  • Managers can earn around £25,000

Further information on salaries can be found on the Defra website.

Source: Lantra AACS LMI report 2010