Employment in the Hospitality Sector

Summer – such as it was – has passed by without an opportunity for us to blog about ice cream machines or BBQ equipment!

So instead of fun and sunshine, let’s get serious and talk about the staffing crisis affecting our important hospitality sector. According to recent reports, there is a worsening skills shortage evident throughout the industry, with experts predicting that the UK will require an additional 11000 chefs by 2022!

Hospitality is the 4th largest employment sector in the UK, and high staff turnover is reported to be costing £2.7 million annually.

There is a perception that jobs within the hospitality industry offer hard work for small pay so the number of potential candidates has decreased, and this alongside an increase in vacancies has meant that the industry is now at crisis point.

The view of a job in hospitality not being a career unless you are at the top has led to a decrease in take-up of entry level positions, to the point that charity People 1st stated that ‘42% of chef vacancies are hard to fill’!

So, where do we go from here? Interviews with chefs and front of house staff revealed that quality of life and wages are the big factors when leaving a position/looking for a new job. Employers are already starting to address these issues and are looking at ways to engage their staff, to offer increased benefits & training, and to support, interest & retain their employees.

Of course keeping your existing staff happy and productive is only half of the battle. The quest for finding skilled new team members needs to filter back to education level – a number of well-known chefs are doing their bit to raise the profile of the hospitality industry, and this alongside improved restaurant websites, networking events and apprenticeships should work together to attract youngsters into this sector. Recent TV shows like Masterchef and Great British Bake Off have re-ignited interest in hospitality courses, and this positive view of the sector could help to raise the profile and encourage workers.

Combined with a shortage of staff, the raising of the National Minimum Wage in April from 6.50 to 7.20 for over 25s could mean a shortage of money. How can the businesses within our hospitality sector address this added pressure? A quick look at articles in recent catering publications seems to suggest business owners are looking at 3 possible options: block recruitment (which leads to a heavier workload for existing staff); only take on under 25s (this may mean employing staff with less experience and skills); and thirdly raising prices at the till (something Whitbread have already said they will need to do across some of their chains)

 As we see more and more chef & front of House positions vacant we can be proud of our growing hospitality sector, but we must ensure that we train and retain good staff – after all they can make or break your business.

As in any sector it is important to find good staff with the right skills, people that you enjoy working with – and look after them!

What are your thoughts and experiences on staffing? Do you find it hard to recruit or do you have a different way of retaining your staff and keeping them motivated?

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