Job Description (What the job involves)
Casual therapists within the spa and beauty industry are typically sought by spas within hotel and health club environments. The duties of a casual therapist will be the same as required of a full or part time spa therapist or beauty therapist. The key difference however with casual therapists is that they are not part of the ‘permanent’ spa workforce. Their hours are not guaranteed by the employer or ring fenced within an employment contract but are governed by a spas business trading levels and can therefore be irregular.
Job advertisements looking for casual therapists may also use descriptive terms such as ‘flexible hours’, ‘hours as and when required’ and zero hours contract’.
It’s important to appreciate that with casual therapy work there is no obligation on the part of the employer to offer set hours and strictly speaking no obligation on the part of the therapist to accept any hours offered. However, it will be made clear that the employer is offering their casual therapists work on the basis the therapist can be flexible and make themselves available for work ‘as and when required’.
Having said that within larger spas there may be several shifts available on a reliable and regular basis that can perfectly fit in with a casual therapists other commitments, be they family, study or work related.
Hours and Working Environment
Hotel spas and health club operators are often recruiters of casual therapists staff. As such the casual therapist can find themselves working in luxury 4 and 5 star environments.
Busy periods are often over weekends and bank holidays and as such work shifts are often requested during these periods. There is no guarantee of minimum hours with casual work but on average a casual therapist will work around 24 hours per week (part time hours).
In order to boost your hours it’s important to be as flexible as possible, That way you’ll be seen as reliable. To continually refuse offered hours is likely to see an employer remove their offer of casual work.
Upsides and Downsides
- Flexibility - especially useful for young parents with commitments towards looking after young children but also mobile therapists looking to supplement their core income and for students as a source of income whilst at college
- Excellent way of newly qualified therapists gaining valuable work experience and a step on the career ladder
- Opportunity to work in different environments especially if company has numerous spas within fairly close proximity of each other
- Provides transitional income whilst you’re looking for permanent work
- Sometimes no guarantee of work
- Lack of regular hours during quiet periods making it difficult to budget accordingly and / or make plans. This can be stressful especially if you’re depending on casual work to pay your bills
- Employers can easily terminate contracts if trading is quiet.
Spas typically require NVQ level 2 or similar in a spa or beauty related qualification and / or level 3. Some prior experience working as a spa or beauty therapist will also be beneficial
Casual therapy work within the spa and beauty industry shows no sign of slowing down. Many employers favour these types of contracts as they’re not committed to carrying therapist wage costs during quiet trading. And yet on the flip side during busier times (i.e. at weekends) or when the spa has staffing problems (such as sickness, holiday leave) the employer can easily scale up by calling upon their casual workforce.
Ultimately therefore, providing the employer can source reliable casual therapists who are flexible in their approach and within reason ‘available’ then the benefits to employers of hiring casual staff is clear.
However, for therapists too at different points in their career, casual work can be incredibly beneficial. For newly qualified therapists it enables them to gain invaluable experience and can lead to offers of permanent work. For young mothers casual work can fit with child care commitments in a way that permanent work cannot and for freelance or mobile therapists casual work is an excellent way of boosting income during their own quiet spells.
Providing benefits remain for both parties then casual work is likely to remain as a viable work option for therapists and within the industry for some time to come.