Casual employment and commitment: a case study in the hospitality industry

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Day, M & Buultjens, J 2007, 'Casual employment and commitment: a case study in the hospitality industry', in Diverging employment relations patterns in Australia and New Zealand: Proceedings of the 21st Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 7-9 February, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. ISBN: 0868691119


Casual employment in Australia has been increasing rapidly since the 1980s, especially in service industries like hospitality. It has been argued that there are many benefits arising from casualisation for both employers and employees. However, Australian hospitality industries experience relatively high levels of turnover that contribute substantially to business costs. An important contributing factor to the high level of turnover may be the lower level of organisational commitment among casual staff. This paper uses data from a study of a five-star hotel in south east Queensland to examine the level of casualisation, the levels of satisfaction among employees with their employment status and the extent of organisational commitment among casual and permanent employees. The findings indicate that the Case Study Hotel had a lower level of casualisation than the industry as a whole. The findings also indicate that casual employees are substantially less satisfied with their employment than permanent staff and also have lower commitment to the organisation. The case study used multiple methods of data collection, including a questionnaire based on Allen and Meyer’s (1990) three dimensional Organisational Commitment Scale and interviews with managers and casual and permanent employees. The findings from this study suggest that lower levels of organisational commitment of casual employees is contributing to the on-going problems of high turnover in the hospitality sector and that issues associated with high turnover will persist if this type of employment continues to exist at its relatively high level.