58% of museum front-of-house staff feel undervalued, reveals poll

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9th July 2019 15:21 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

58% of museum front-of-house staff feel undervalued:  A poll of museum workers has found that 58% of those in front-of-house roles feel undervalued in their work.

This is more than twice the number of back-of-house respondents who said the same (24%).

The research conducted by FoHMuseums polled 564 respondents to take a look at the experiences of staff working in positions at UK museums, heritage sites and galleries. It set out to "start a conversation on the value that front-of-house staff bring not only to the visitor experience but also to organisations and the wider sector", according Abi Godfrey, the co-founder of FoHMuseums and visitor services assistant at the Holburne Museum, Bath

The survey found that 65% of those polled counted a front-of-house role as their first paid position within the museums sector. It also found that of all 564 respondents polled, 89% had worked in a front-of-house job at some point in their career

Almost 6 in 10 (59%) said they currently work in a front-of-house role. 

Asked about how inspired they felt to pursue a career in the museum sector based on their experiences in their role, just under half (48%) of the front-of-house staff polled said they would be motivated to follow a career in the museum sector. This compares to more than three-quarters of back-of-house staff (76%) asked the same question. 

The survey also found that while 80% of staff who work in back-of-house positions feel they would be able to change museum practice, just over a a third (37%) of front-of-house staff felt the same. 

Rachel Mackay, manager at Historic Royal Palaces at Kew said: "Zero-hour contracts, outsourcing and agency working all play a part in making front-of-house staff feel like they aren’t as much a part of the organisation as their back-of-house colleagues, or valued as highly.”

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