AUT Release New Report on Working Conditions in Hospitality and Tourism

New Zealand has seen an improvement in working conditions, particularly in the industries of tourism and hospitality, according to a survey conducted by AUT. Frontline workers and those in management positions have also seen an incline.

Work issues covered in the report include problematic pay and working conditions, bullying and harassment, and significant levels of non-compliance with basic employment law.

Some of the findings include that nine per cent did not sign employment agreements before starting work, 29 percent did not get appropriate holiday pay, and forty-two per cent did not always get breaks during their work day.

When the topic of bullying or harassment was mentioned, 23 percent had experienced it, and thirty-four perfect had witnessed it. 50 percent were unsure or not told if any action was subsequently taken. 

The survey was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and is based on the tourism industry transformation plan and better work action plan.

The outline of the plan is to create a partnership between the central government, unions, industry leaders, and Māori, whilst seeking to address tourism workforce challenges highlighted in the collected research data.

The survey, which interviewed over 900 people, found that only 59 percent of staff were either planning to leave their jobs within a year or were undecided on whether or not they will stay.

Report co-author, Dr David Williamson said that the figures found in the research are worrying.

“The main reason people gave for wanting to leave the sector was that the workplace had bad conditions, stress or was a toxic environment. This was followed by bad pay and conditions and then by wanting a better work-life balance.” 

The report is one of the largest surveys of employees to be conducted in the sector to date. Participants were surveyed in mid-2022 and generated over 25,000 comments for analysis.

The report also highlighted the fact that only four percent of employees belong to a union, but a further 43 percent said they would be interested in joining one.

“It is also worth pointing out that our research found that 52 percent  of workers have had careers of six years or more in the industry, which looks poised to begin its return to be a major contributor to the New Zealand economy.”

The report provides an overview of employment relations and working conditions in the hospitality and tourism sector during a disruptive post COVID-19 environment.