Zero Hours Contracts And Long Shift Patterns Among Hospitality Workers’ Biggest Pet Peeves

Unreliable, unsociable and long working hours are the most disliked aspects of working in the hospitality industry, according to a new study from OpsBase. The poll, which surveyed over 200 hospitality workers in the UK, found that 2 in 5 (39%) most dislike ‘long shifts’, while around one third are most peeved by unreliable shift patterns (33%) and unsociable working hours (31%).

A further 17% openly expressed their dislike for zero hours contracts. These contracts are designed to help businesses better cope with seasonality and changes in demand, but also mean that employers are not obligated to provide their staff with a set number of minimum working hours. The new hospitality poll also follows a recent nationwide survey which found that 3 in 5 voters in the UK want the government to ban zero hours contracts. The new government has already come under pressure from trade union groups to preserve and enhance workers’ rights after Brexit. According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, the accommodation and food sector has the highest proportion (24%) of workers on zero hours contracts of any industry.

“Our survey highlights that hospitality workers are most ‘peeved’ by issues related to their working hours. However, it is important to understand that it is not only about unreliable shift patterns and zero hours contracts. The biggest pet peeves in the hospitality industry are long shifts and unsociable hours, suggesting that many workers also want more flexible shift options. Historically, that’s been quite difficult to provide. So it’s important that managers utilise all of the technology and software solutions available to them to help create efficiencies in their operations that will save time, reduce stress and potentially result in more reasonable shift patterns,” said Michael Douglas, OpsBase’s Chief Commercial Officer.

1 in 4 also concerned about hot temperatures at work

The survey also highlights that 1 in 4 hospitality workers are concerned about working in high temperatures such as in hot kitchens or during the summer months. As it stands, the law says little about maximum working temperatures – despite there being clear maximum temperatures for keeping livestock such as cattle.

1 in 5 frustrated by others perceptions of the hospitality industry

Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) also said that their pet peeve was the perception of others that working in the hospitality industry wasn’t a ‘real job’. Attracting and retaining new talent can be a significant challenge for some hospitality businesses due to a common misconception that the industry cannot provide a fulifing long-term career. Around 3 in 10 hospitality workers leave their role within a year.

82% of hospitality workers would recommend a career in the industry

Despite this, 82% in the survey said that they would ‘somewhat’ or ‘highly’ recommend a career in the hospitality industry. Interestingly, the poll also found that very few hospitality workers were concerned about a lack of job security (7%), an intimidating atmosphere in the workplace (8%), having to do jobs such as cleaning toilets (9%) or micromanagement (10%).

Hospitality workers motivated by customer satisfaction

The survey also asked workers what they liked most about working in the hospitality industry and found that most are motivated by the opportunity to make a difference. Nearly half (47%) attributed this to providing customer satisfaction, while nearly 2 in 5 (37%) put it down to having ‘pride in what you do’. Nearly one third (31%) most liked the industry for the opportunity to meet new people. Interestingly, only 4% said that best thing about the hospitality industry was the long-term career prospects – and just 11% put it down to the opportunity to be creative.

See for the full report on workers in the hospitality industry or to find out more about specific trends for workers in restaurants, hotels, pubs and bars