Poor staff soft skills could create industry crisis by 2020

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Skills shortages remain a major threat to the hospitality industry
Skills shortages remain a major threat to the hospitality industry
Foodservice and accommodation businesses are at risk of a major staffing crisis by 2020 if more is not done to recognise the importance of soft skills, a report by Development Economics warns.

In five years’ time 61,549 employees will exhibit ‘sub-optimal performance’ due to a lack of skills such as communication, teamwork, responsibility and time management, the report found.

Soft skills are worth £88bn to the UK economy and almost £8bn to retail and food services alone.

“Our members, HR professionals who oversee recruitment, regularly tell us that so called 'soft skills', such as communication, teamwork and resilience, are among the key attributes they look for when they recruit,” said Katerina Rudiger, head of skills and policy campaigns, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

“If young people are to be able to transition successfully from education to the world of work they must be given the opportunity to develop and demonstrate these skills.”

The report follows calls from People 1st​ for higher education to address the future skill requirements of the hospitality industry, which will require an estimated 66,000 more managers by 2020.

The number of businesses reporting difficulties in recruiting skilled staff has risen in the past year, with a greater number now turning to recruitment agencies​ to source employees.

Industry wide survey

The research was commissioned by McDonalds UK and James Caan CBE as part of a long-term campaign calling for the industry to re-evaluate the value of soft skills.

“As a food service business, we know that soft skills such as communication and teamwork are vital – to our commercial success, to the individual success of our people, and to making sure our customers have a great experience with us," said Jez Langhorn, chief people officer, McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe.

The company is running a three month cross industry consultation until 10th April, and has called for more businesses and employers to offer their views on the issue at http://www.backingsoftskills.co.uk/​.

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