Professional Comment

New Research Finds Flexible Working Is On A Par With Pay & Benefits For Hospitality Workers

New survey shows over 50% of hospitality workers consider the ability to work flexibly as a key deciding factor in job choice, on a par with pay and benefits

A recent survey from flexible recruitment platform limber ( and hospitality insight firm KAM reveals work-life balance is now a critical consideration for people when choosing a job in hospitality, with one in four employees stating the ability to work flexibly is even more important since the Pandemic.

It’s no secret that Brexit and the Pandemic has adversely impacted staffing levels across the UK’s hospitality industry, however this new research reveals that staff retention is now as challenging as attraction and recruitment, as attitudes to work continue to evolve.

The online survey of current and recent hospitality workers, revealed ‘work-life balance’ is now on a par with ‘pay and benefits’, with over 50% of recipients choosing these factors as having the most influence over the job they choose. ‘Fun and enjoyment’ (47%) also showed as a crucial element, suggesting employers need to think well beyond pay when attracting the modern hospitality worker.

Furthermore, a focus on choice and flexibility from employers on their hours is evident, with 60% wanting the chance to work additional hours, 43% wanting the opportunity to pick up extra shifts last-minute, and 43% wanting to switch hours easily. With more workers wanting times which better suit them and the ability to flex that choice around their changing needs, operators have a significant opportunity to rethink and deploy a new working model. As well as this, 60% of recipients felt the working hours in the hospitality industry isn’t flexible, meaning there is a challenge for operators to overcome to meet employee needs.

Looking more closely the data shows the desire for flexibility is not just about the hours and days worked, with the research revealing nearly half of workers (47%) now appreciate flexibility in which locations they work at, as well as the opportunity to work multiple roles (52%). This also has significant benefits to employers too, with flexible working enhancing motivation in the workplace – in fact, 49% indicated that flexible working would encourage employees to pick up more hours.

The research also shows that a key benefit to flexibility is an increase operator’s core team spirit, with 54% of those surveyed stating that flexible working would improve workplace morale. Core teams who aren’t constantly working in understaffed teams are fundamentally happier, with 43% of hospitality employees stating that understaffed teams encourage them to look for another role elsewhere. This heightens the importance for operators to implement and get ahead on flexible working practices, reducing staff turnover, and in turn strain on their operations.

Chris Sanderson, founder of limber, said:
“Many businesses have found that flexibility forms a key part of the future of work and people thrive in an environment where they are able to adapt their work to their needs, with our research emphasising this. Embracing this new way of hiring brings some really difficult challenges for operators. Not least the increased administrative impact of employing people on a flexible basis, but there are also some understandable concerns to think about, such as how to build a functioning rota with flexible staff.

“However, it is not a want but a need, with the trend for flexible working only set to continue. We have seen over 46,000 new workers join limber since Pandemic restrictions eased, with numbers growing each day. And the benefits for operators are clear – through accessing a wider talent pool through flexible working, operators will fundamentally be able to appeal to a far broader selection of people and therefore make better use of their talent by building their network. This will help operators build a more liquid workforce, which in turn will help with reactive hiring, such as managing leavers, holiday requests or seasonality.

“The world is going to become more flexible rather than less, but flexible teams, deployed properly can be a massive asset to any operator”.