‘The Gym Group is a company that uses fitness to make money… The business model here is simply to make as much money as they can. They do not care or know anything about fitness. They do not care about their staff.’

Employee review on Indeed

If you take a look at workers’ reviews for Pure Gym and the Gym Group on Indeed and Glassdoor, a few themes are obvious.

Low pay is a massive one, with satisfaction for that aspect averaging between 20-30% on review sites. PTs who get a wage for their shifts often have to pay a very similar amount straight back to the gym in rent to be able to train clients when off shift. Take home earnings are unpredictable and Universal Credit may be essential to keep food on the table and cover the bills.

Late finishes followed by early starts, multiple job roles piled on top of the PT role (cleaning, security, receptionist), lack of HR policies and unsafe conditions are also mentioned.

Staff turnover for budget chain gyms is quick – it’s almost as if the companies know they can easily replace trainers, so putting in the effort to keep them satisfied is no priority. When I worked at easyGym, one of the company’s top values on the office wall was ‘being frugal’ (which conjures up images of the senior management using the gym showers to keep their home utility bills down…), and that value was certainly reflected in the poor upkeep of equipment and the expectations on staff.

Yet at the same time these chain gyms can get awarded Investors in People accreditations and make a big noise about their social value.

There are over 60,000 fitness professionals in the UK, and the high industry turnover means there are also a large number of ex-fitness professionals! Are you someone who ended up leaving a role working in fitness? What was the reason? What kind of changes could have made you consider staying longer? Let us know via the comments or feel free to use the contact form.

Whether you still work in fitness or any other sector, you have more power and protection at work as a member of a union. You can learn more about joining a union via Organise Now!, and also my course Peace for PTs which takes a reflective look at the causes of chronic stress in our line of work – mental, emotional and economic – and how we can avoid them.

And you can also be part of the conversation by joining an online session with me, hosted by the Body Positive Fitness Alliance, tomorrow – Thursday 20th April – at 1PM EST / 6PM UK time. It’ll be recorded for catch up if you can’t make it live.