Study to explore staffing problems within Britain’s racing industry

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Hartpury students at Chepstow races. 
Hartpury students at Chepstow races. © Hartpury University

Researchers hope to learn more about staffing problems within the British racing industry, with high staff turnover and many vacancies hard to fill.

The research is being carried out at Hartpury University, which has an equine research centre.

The in-depth study will analyse the views, opinions and concerns of racing staff and racehorse trainers in Britain in a bid to provide some clarity around the staffing issues.

It follows a report produced for the Racing Foundation in partnership with the British Horseracing Authority which identified that around a quarter of all permanent positions in racing yards required recruitment annually due to staff turnover or growth.

The work, carried out in 2016, found that nearly half of permanent job vacancies in racing were identified as “hard-to-fill” compared to a national figure of one third.

The fresh research at Hartpury will explore how satisfied racehorse trainers and racing staff feel about their current roles, their wages and their work-life balance in the industry.

The work will be undertaken through a series of focus groups. The study will also ask racehorse trainers and employees how work conditions and staff retention could be improved.

The results are expected to be released mid-year.

The research will be carried out by Hartpury University graduate Elizabeth Juckes for a postgraduate dissertation towards a master’s degree in Equine Science.

“There is an opportunity to investigate the ongoing issues within the industry to attempt to capture views and perceptions of the workforce and employers to enable the industry to action these points for its future betterment and sustainability,” she says.

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