People 1st calls for more higher education training in wake of manager skills shortfall

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Higher education needs to play a greater part in addressing the management needs of the hospitality sector says People 1st
Higher education needs to play a greater part in addressing the management needs of the hospitality sector says People 1st

Related tags: Higher education, Management, Kent

People 1st has called for higher education to play a greater role in addressing the future management needs of the hospitality sector, after it claimed the industry will need 66,000 more managers by 2020.

In its latest insight report, the skills and workforce development charity found that six per cent of hospitality and tourism businesses currently have vacancies for managerial positions, with 42 per cent of these considered ‘hard to fill’.

To make matters worse, the range of skills and attributes that hospitality and tourism businesses need their managers to possess continues to expand, People 1st said.

The report found that 34 per cent of hospitality and tourism businesses reported a low number of applicants with the relevant work experience as the primary reason for hard-to-fill vacancies, while 31 per cent reported a low number of applicants in general. 

Staff retention​ 

It cited an increasing focus on transient staff, and the knock-on effect of poor job retention, as the main reasons why businesses were promoting staff to management positions much earlier than they were in the past.

Consequently, the report concluded that managers are not in post for a sufficient length of time to be competent. Currently, five per cent of hospitality employers are reporting that their managers lack the required skills to meet their business skills – two per cent higher than across the whole UK job market.

The most common reason why businesses believed managers have skill gaps, at 55 per cent, is because they are new to the role or have not fully completed their training.

More alarmingly, 36 per cent of employers said managers lacked motivation, while 32 per cent reported that there had been no significant improvement in their performance despite completing a period of training. 

Recruitment challenge​ 

Martin-Christian Kent, executive director at People 1st, said: “Finding 66,000 more managers by 2020 is going to be really challenging if hospitality and tourism employers don’t think differently about how they recruit, develop and retain their managers.

“We believe that increasing attention should be paid to the role of higher education. While qualifications only tell a partial story about the skills of managers, they do provide an indication about how systematic training is and the professionalism of managers in a sector.”

Kent added: “We also support employers and professional bodies in the sector to create new apprenticeship standards for hospitality supervisors and hospitality managers through the Apprenticeship Trailblazers.” 

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