The research from Livebookings found that 43 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds would not consider hospitality as a career option, while nearly a third (29 per cent) said the industry ‘wasn’t forward-thinking enough’.
But Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality – a professional body for aspiring managers of hospitality businesses - believes the results of the survey is actually positive news for the industry.
“I am surprised that the results of the survey are presented in a negative light,” said Rossiter. “Surely the positive news is that 57 per cent of young people would consider a career in hospitality.
“At a time in their lives when the world is their oyster and they could potentially pursue any career path or professional aspiration - including becoming a professional footballer, ballet dancer, rock star or actress - the fact that 57 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds would consider working in hospitality, a sector that accounts for 8 per cent of total UK employment, sounds like a reasonable result.
“The trick, of course, is to provide those who do make a start in our sector with such a positive experience that they will never want to leave.”
Challenge, variety, responsibility
Suzy Jackson, executive director of the Hospitality Guild, a new umbrella organisation set up to champion skills development within the hospitality industry, also has a positive take on the Livebookings survey.
“For those of us that have enjoyed the challenge, variety, responsibility and sheer fun of our daily working lives in the sector, it is a critical moment to embrace change,” said Jackson. “Just two weeks ago, Great Britain’s hospitality as the host nation for the Olympics was celebrated.”
However, Jackson also believes that it highlights a deeper problem in the hospitality industry and one which must be tackled head-on by hotels, restaurants and pubs nationwide.
She added: “Why is it that with one in six 16 to 24-year-olds not in employment or education and our need to recruit over 100,000 additional people a year to fill new roles, hospitality is not viewed as a first-choice career option? For the industry to capture the imagination of the most talented and committed individuals, what collectively can we do?
“I do believe the solution is a collaborative approach. The industry has rightly demanded a single marketplace for years, one voice that speaks for skills and professional development, that quality assures the best solutions, that optimises funding and is accountable for results.
Techology and social media
“The Guild has brought this vision to reality, and we have the energy, commitment and expertise of our partner organisations to make a difference.
“Our modern-day Guild will use exactly the technology that young people embrace to attract them to our sector – an engaging web portal, social media, apps, online streaming – as well as celebrate the success of young hospitality professionals through our Young Hall of Fame and Apprenticeship Awards.
“We will applaud the great employers, accredit the best training and use our insight with educators, advisors, parents and government to leverage influence. “
Rossiter from the Institute of Hospitality concluded: “Certainly, it is concerning that nearly a third (29 per cent) felt hospitality was not forward-looking and one in five that it wouldn’t make the most of their technology skills and knowledge of the internet and social media.
“Clearly, the message still needs to reach pupils, parents and careers advisors that technology plays a central role in hospitality today which not only has a need for chefs, waiters and receptionists, but for professionally-qualified employees in IT, online distribution, revenue management, web-analytics, branding and sales and marketing.”