Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Two casualties of the recession: Bankers and Strippers

No man is an island, we are all connected. Sometimes the connections are surprising. As a small example, the dramatic changes in The City of London’s banking community have had an impact on café’s, restaurants, taxi drivers and strippers. Strippers? Yes, esteemed blog followers. The unseen world of the Gentleman’s Club appears to be caught up in the fallout from the disasters of the finance business.

My suspicion is that not many of the shy and retiring readers of HR Case Studies will be familiar with the life of a stripper, so allow your intrepid editor (accompanied by the glamourous Annie*) to enlighten you.

From an HR point of view the first point to note is that the women who work in these clubs are self-employed and not employees. They pay the club a fee ranging from £40 to £100 each night to work so everyone arrives needing to work. At £20 a dance the first dances count for nothing in Annie’s mind. As a motivator to work it’s fairly direct. Pay-to-work also applies to Hairdressers and Day Traders. It’s strange what connects people.

The returns on this investment can be considerable. Even though there are fewer bankers with less cash Annie’s take home pay can range from nothing to £200 on a bad night to as much as £1000 on a "lucky" night. She works two or three nights a week on a flexitime arrangement that would be the envy of many firms.

Wondering what sort of person takes their clothes off for the pleasure of others (oh, and not forgetting the receipt of a not insubstantial sum of money)?

Oh they're all sorts. Some really nice girls and some that I don't like at all. OK, they're prettier than average, but apart from that you have those who left school at 16 and some with university degrees. Some are single mums and some are married. Some are paying for their studies and some are just doing a job. There isn't really a typical dancer.
And how easy is it to make a success in the twilight world?

Let's just say the good girls make good money, and the bad girls don’t last. It can be tough for some if they have the wrong attitude. It also depends on why a girl is working. Some of them are the main earners in the house if their partner is unemployed; a fair number are single mums, and then there are those like me who have other jobs which help to make life a bit more predictable. Motivation is different from girl to girl.
And has there been a noticeable effect caused by the recession?

As the bankers and traders have had a bad time, we've had a bad time too. Not only do we have fewer big money evenings, but sometimes we can have a lot of guys in the club, but not many of them actually spending. They drink, get a bit cheeky and maybe have a dance but then clear off. But there are too many girls now chasing too few guys with too little in the wallet.
Is this your only source of income, or do you have other strings to your bow?

I work part time, three days a week as a PA to a senior manager in a large commercial organisation. The work is fine, regular and routine. It can be frustrating. I can do so much more, but I usually hide the fact that I've got a brain! I’m more than happy to explore, for example, the parallels between Shakespeare's Tempest and John Fowles' The Magus!
If, dear reader of HR Case Studies, you're wondering if you'd recognise Annie if you bumped into her at either the CIPD conference, or a convention on Post-Modernism in Contemporary English Literature; you probably wouldn't:

I don't deny what I do. Ask and I'll tell. But I don't wear a t-shirt at the weekend saying 'Hey, I'm a stripper'. It's what I do, some of the time; it’s not what I am.
* Of course it’s not her real name.


  1. Thanks for not using my name (although you promised not to use that silhouette as you know it’s not my best side)!!!

    I guess like any luxury, non-essential item attending such establishments is not high on the list of priorities for a lot of the usual clients – entertainment and drinks being just too hard on the pocket. Although you might think that when the vultures and thieves are at their back, some folks may find comfort in the arms of an angel for a few dances at least before home time.

    Here’s hoping that business is on the up soon.


  2. Interesting angle and notwithstanding understandable views about the rights and wrongs of this so-called profession it does raise a pay and motivation issue which is at the heart of HR despite what many people think. As you rightly say the idea of renting space to work is not exactly original and many say that it is good for only sales oriented scenarios but that may be to limit our thinking. Can more be done by HR professionals to facilitate the employees understanding of the connection between what they take home and what they a) cost and b) contribute. I tried to explain fully-absorbed costs to my co-workers one time and they were amazed that they cost so much and for some it changed their view on their relationship wth their employer. Others want to know what role they play in the earnings of the enterprise. I thikn we should try to learn from as many places as we can and Annies world has a pretty good investment/reward model that motivates.

  3. Strippers and bankers are the same. Emotionally vacant leeches that will do anything to earn a quick buck. They deserve each other.

  4. were can i get that tshirt lol ??

  5. You have really got this spot on Graham. Its true that it isn't an easy thing to do. Im a single mum and as childcare costs are expensive and the clubs take their fee its sometimes cost me close to £100 before Iv even started work!!! But I dont want to live on State Benefits either. Not because I think its wrong but because I want to set an example to my daughters. Not that they know what I do but they know Mammy goes out to work on a night. I think its unfair of anonymous to say we are "emotionally vacant leeches that will do anything to earn a quick buck". Believe me its not easy or quick. Thats just a small minded attitude. Could I go out and get a reglar 9 to 5 job? Yeah probably with not much problem. I have a social work degree, paid for from the money Iv earned doing what I do, I never expected anybody to give me a free ride through college or uni. But if I did a "regular job" I would pay a lot of my wages in childcare fees and I would hardly see my children. I didnt have kids so someone else could bring them up for me. They only have me in their life and I want to be with them as much as i can. I go to work when their in bed. Lets face it, any Mum or Dad would do that if they could, wouldn't they? So on a final note, am I an emotionally vacant leech? No. Im just trying to pay my own bills in a way that works for me and my children. Would people rather I leeched from the government? The benefit system isn't there to be abused, its there to be used if its needed, and right now I don't NEED it.

    1. no, jodie you are not a emoional vacant leech.......as you do wot u like to,and obviously doing things for make u live is not anythng which is bad.....better if u can find out any other job for u which is a bit prestigeous...bcoz our society jst wants to see the things in the way they want.Again this is upto u.bcz life is urs nd u know wot u shuld do to make it gud.....i can understand that prestige and respect worths nothing whn u jst have nothing to eat......
      bt again wot i want to suggest u is dat....u shuld try to search for a new job which is a little earning as well as a bit respectfull.u will be more happy nd satisfied with u nd ur life.jst try to do this ,there is a possibility that god change the situations,bcz god help those who help themselves.

  6. Jodie:

    Thanks very much indeed for a heart-felt and comprehensive insider view on this!

    It's very much appreciated