In a ground-breaking survey of the grounds care industry, the IoG found that the industry is worth £580m in England and that just 0.4 per cent of its workers are women.
IoG chief executive Geoff Webb said the body of evidence will help challenge perceptions and aid an umbrella federation of associated industry bodies to lobby for greater government support. He said: "We'd see BIGGA sitting alongside that", adding that merger talks with the greenkeeper body broke down last year because of the gap between IoG membership annual fees (£37-£45) and BIGGA's (£121).
Both bodies have around 8,000 members. Webb said the proposed federation was "bigger than the two organisations". "An umbrella body would allow for shared best practice and increased influence when speaking to Government."
Webb said it could address the age and skills gap, climate change and the volunteer question - there are 20,000 unpaid groundsmen in the UK, according to the study.
IoG survey results
Section one: Profile of the industry
- Only 0.4 per cent of workers in the industry are women.
- Most of the staff are male, aged 40- to 49-years-old (24.4 per cent).
- Forty per cent of people surveyed hadn't had any training in the previous 12 months.
- Just under 10 per cent of people in the industry made a definite career choice to be a grounds care specialist. The majority moved into the industry via indirect routes.
- The majority of those surveyed (61.1 per cent) were satisfied with their jobs, but over a third felt "quite", "not very" or "not at all" satisfied.
Section two: Scale of the industry
- The industry is worth over £580m for sports surfaces in England, not including parks and other open spaces.
- Nearly 20,000 people work in the industry on a full-time basis.
- Around 20,000 people also work as volunteer grounds specialists.
Proposed bodies to include: Agricultural Engineering Association; Amenity Turf Forum; BIGGA; CABE; GreenSpace; HTA; Land Drainage Contractors' Association; colleges; and trainers. and others.