Established to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the hospitality sector, the UK Hospitality Workforce Commission 2030 gives its recommendations on recruitment and retention in this excerpt from its September 2018 report.
As an engine of growth for the UK economy, the hospitality sector aims to create an additional 66,000 new jobs and up to 200,000 new apprenticeships over the next five years, as well as broader development and learning opportunities.
The Commission heard from a number of witnesses about the positive work the industry is already doing to ensure it grows at its projected trajectory, and to promote hospitality as a viable and enjoyable career pathway. However, there is still more to be done to encourage people to join the hospitality workforce, and to ensure that these individuals take full advantage of the long-term career opportunities that the sector has to offer.
Recommendation 1: A cross-industry, national campaign to eliminate negative perceptions of hospitality careers Respondents were unanimous in the belief that the sector must collectively tackle negative perceptions of hospitality careers and increase industry visibility for all jobseekers.
Courtney Avery, Youth UK Ambassador, highlighted hospitality’s negative reputation and how it is often incorrectly associated with low-skilled work. She cited discussions with her peers which make clear that few people contemplate long-term hospitality career choices due to the misconception that it is ‘low payed and low skill’, a view reiterated by apprentices from Park Plaza Hotels and The Ritz, who also suggested that a cross-industry campaign would tackle the stigma around apprenticeships.
The Commission also heard about existing successful hospitality workforce campaigns.
Yo! Sushi highlighted their ‘Project Feel Real’ campaign which focuses on real life case studies, and Greene King evidenced their work with the Prince’s Trust on a ‘Ready to Work’ programme which, since its launch in 2016, has supported over 240 16-30 year olds nationwide.
The British Beer and Pub Association also pointed to its ‘Pub Chef Passion’ social media initiative, launched in 2015, which aims to inspire young people to pursue a career in the pub sector.
Whitbread argued for the need to highlight how the industry provides real career progression; for example, 1 in 4 of Whitbread’s hotel managers were originally apprentices when they joined the company.
Respondents highlighted the importance of tackling low retention rates in the industry. This was by far the most discussed issue across the Commission’s evidence.
As a result, the Commission recommends launching a cross-industry, nationwide campaign aimed at schools, further education, government, parents, and other influencers, in order to promote the industry, attracting potential employees and retaining talented staff. Witnesses agreed that the appointment of industry ambassadors would be an effective way of helping to create an inspiring campaign that showcases aspirational, ‘real life’ role models within the workforce, and highlighting the long-term career pathways offered by the sector, across a huge and varying range of job types.
Building on the Big Hospitality Conversation campaign, these role models should also include apprentices, so that young people can hear directly from their peers.