Racing to a Staffing Solution: An investigation into the current staffing crisis within the UK horseracing industry

E. Juckes, Jane Williams, C Challinor, Emma Davies

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Abstract

The British Horseracing Industry has been experiencing a labour shortage since the 1970’s and despite recent improvements reported in staff retainment, the industry still reports high staff turnover. We investigated staffing challenges experienced by UK horseracing employers and employees, to formulate strategic targets to address any issues identified. Thirty UK trainers and staff (12 staff, 9 senior staff, 9 trainers) participated in semi-structured inductive focus groups lasting on average 39 ± 9 minutes. Questions explored staff background in racing, perceptions of the current staff challenges, retention and recommendations for improvement. Thematic analysis revealed four higher order themes; 1) lack of skills, 2) differences in perceived work ethic, 3) job conditions, and 4) media portrayal. This study concluded that there are dedicated staff working in the industry, but significant skills gaps, high workloads, poor work-life balance and a lack of training and career progression negatively influence retention in the horse racing industry.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Early online date16 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2020

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