Employment Landscape

Secure leadership for an insecure economy

Words David Waller

More than six million UK employees live in a state of permanent high alert, subject to last-minute schedule changes and uncertain when their next pay packet is

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Jaroslav Chudej CMgr FCMI has spent more than 20 years working in hospitality, from being head waiter at Angus Steakhouse to deputy head of bars with Edinburgh’s Student Union Association; and project manager at a hospitality consultant. Today he’s a hospitality management and leadership coach, helping managers in the sector to address challenging relationships with senior leadership – with the aim of repairing dysfunctional dynamics and making their work more satisfying.

Jaroslav Chudej CMgr FCMI recalls a particularly alarming moment from his 20-plus year career in the hospitality sector. A substantial amount of cash had gone missing from a business where he was working, and the departmental manager was ready to confront and suspend the person who’d been on shift at the time.

“There was no attempt to actually figure out what had happened,” says Jaroslav, a Chartered Manager with a Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership, and a CMI-registered mentor and coach. “The easiest thing was simply to blame someone for it. I put a stop to that.”

It didn’t take long for Jaroslav to track down the missing money, which had simply been put somewhere no one had thought to look.

But his story shows just how fragile work in transient sectors can be. Their jobs can disappear at the drop of a hat. It also shows the degree of power that sits in the hands of untrained managers.

“Imagine the detrimental effect that experience would have had on the wellbeing of the person had they been accused,” says Jaroslav. “They could be destroyed for life.”

“Living in a permanent state of high alert”

The Work Foundation at Lancaster University defines insecure work as that which combines contractual insecurity, financial insecurity and a lack of access to employment rights and protections. It includes many of the zero-hour, part-time, seasonal and temp roles that characterise the modern gig economy, and is particularly prevalent in hospitality, as well as sectors like agriculture, retail and care.

While some choose to take such insecure work because of the flexibility it offers, many others have no choice but to accept the terms.

Want to read more of the key findings surrounding insecure work?

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