2 Research Methodology

2.1 Survey design

2.1.1 Kick off workshop

The project commenced in January 2023 with an in-person kick-off workshop attended by the key members of the JRS team and key representatives from the FWC Secretariat.

Areas agreed during this meeting included the approaches to be taken to promote survey participation, information priorities to be considered during the questionnaire design stage and requirements for the reporting of results during and after the completion of survey fieldwork.

2.1.2 Questionnaire design

The questionnaires for both the survey of workers and survey of businesses were structured around the Fair Work Dimensions as shown in the table below and overleaf.

Table 1 – Topics included in surveys

Effective Voice





Workers Survey Question Topics

Opportunities to have voice heard and impact on decision making

Raising issues at work and how they are dealt with

Challenging on rights

Member of trade union

Access to flexible work

Also: analysis of worker experiences across protected characteristics.

Contract types

Pay, holiday pay, sick pay, tips and real living wage

Hours (including satisfaction of hours) and breaks




Access to, and timing of, training

Type of training

Skills to do the job

Work related ill health

Relationships at work

Bullying and harassment

Reporting mechanisms

Business Survey Question Themes

Consultation and working relationships with trade unions (including recognition agreements)

Staff associations and networks

Meetings for staff to express views and influence outcomes

Flexible working arrangements

Non-pay terms & conditions

Recruitment Challenges

Contractual arrangements used

Real living wage (accreditation and payment)

Skill shortage vacancies

Delivery of training, challenges delivering training and training budgets

Grievance procedures

Disciplinary action

Questionnaire design was an iterative process with valuable input received during the kick off workshop and from subsequent discussions with members of the FWC Secretariat, Hospitality Inquiry members, FWC members and other partner organisations.

The questionnaire design was also informed by a review of previous relevant research undertaken in Scotland and elsewhere including the findings of qualitative research undertaken by National Institute of Economic and Social Research on behalf of the FWC during 2022.

While it was important to ensure that a wide range of areas of interest were included in the questionnaires, keeping the questionnaire to a manageable length for respondents was also a priority to ensure high levels of response and good quality in the data collected.

Copies of the final questionnaires are provided in Appendix 1.

2.2 Survey approach

An online approach was used with the two questionnaires accessible via a single online ‘landing page’ which provided links to the surveys together with brief details on the Fair Work Convention, the purpose of the surveys and where to obtain further information.

Survey fieldwork ran over a 9-week period from 3rd May to 9th July 2023. During this period, survey participation was promoted by the FWC, Hospitality Inquiry members (which includes STA, UK Hospitality, Scottish Pub and Beer association, Unite Hospitality and NUS Scotland) and a large number of other key organisations comprising individual businesses, colleges and universities, enterprise agencies and local authorities.

Channels used to promote the survey over this period included social media, e-mail newsletters, verbal communications at meetings and other channels available to the FWC and their partners. This included a paid promotion of the survey via Instagram undertaken by Unite Hospitality.

By the final deadline, a total of 245 hospitality workers and 79 hospitality businesses had taken part.

With the exception of the open ended (“type in”) questions, respondents to both surveys were required to complete all of the questions to progress through the survey and submit their response. As such, unless otherwise stated, results are based on the full sample.

Details of the profile of businesses and workers taking part in the survey are provided in the sections which follow.

2.3 Levels of accuracy

In common with any sample survey, a number of factors impact upon the accuracy of the results of the surveys undertaken as part of this study including the following:

2.3.1 A self-selecting sample

Given the nature of the survey approach although both surveys were promoted extensively by the FWC and their partners, those businesses and hospitality workers who chose to take part in the survey were self-selecting. As such the profile of survey participants varies from the overall profile of the hospitality sector in Scotland and those who are employed in it. As shown in the sections which follow, this includes a higher representation of certain types of business in the survey sample than in the sector as a whole. Business types over-represented included hotels, larger businesses and those that pay employees the Real Living Wage. These variations suggest that the businesses responding to the survey may be to some extent skewed towards those that perform better than the norm in terms of delivering against some of the key Fair Work principles measured in this survey.

Similarly, there are variations between the profile of workers taking part in the survey and the profile of all workers across the whole hospitality workforce. For example, the survey under-represents those in younger age groups and those working on a part-time basis or zero-hour contact basis. These variations suggest that the responses obtained from survey participants may to some extent be skewed toward those who have a more positive view and experience of the sector.

While these variations between the sample profile and the true profile of the sector are not unexpected given the self-completion approaches used, they should be taken into account when using the results.

2.3.2 Statistical margins of error

Whilst the surveys were promoted widely and fieldwork was open for a 9-week period, the final sample sizes obtained (245 workers and 79 businesses) represent a small proportion of the total hospitality sector in Scotland.

Given these sample sizes, at the 95% level of confidence, results from the survey of workers have a maximum margin of error of +/-6% while results from the survey of businesses have a maximum margin of error of +/-11%. When results are presented for sub-groups within the sample (e.g. particular demographics or types of business), sample sizes for these groups are smaller so margins of error are larger.

In producing this report, only those differences between sub-groups which are statistically significant at the 95% level of confidence have been referenced in the commentary.

2.4 Further information

If you would like to find out more about the survey or the Hospitality Industry Inquiry visit the website.