Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, responded to a recent survey that found that just 12 per cent of parents would see hospitality as a good career option for their children, alongside 42 per cent who would actively discourage their kids from pursuing careers in the industry.
The survey from Best Western Great Britain found that parents were most likely to prefer the careers of doctor (47 per cent), accountant (39 per cent), architect (37 per cent) and engineer (36 per cent).
Hospitality was the third least popular career path on the list, coming just behind sales (10 per cent) and farmers (11 per cent), and overall less preferred than cleaner (14 per cent) and chauffeur or driver (13 per cent). The perception of long hours and low pay was cited as a major factor in the choice.
Ibrahim – who along with the rest of the BHA has spearheaded career campaigns such as the Hospitality Works programme and the Big Hospitality Conversation events series ‒ rejected the view that the industry could not offer a strong career path for young people and career starters, but admitted that there were still misconceptions surrounding its potential.
She said: “Hospitality is a successful and growing industry which offers a fantastic range of career opportunities to young people. However, there are still widespread misconceptions amongst many outside the industry who don’t understand the variety and potential that a career in hospitality can offer.
“We urge young people to look beyond outdated viewpoints to see the breadth of job roles and the training available in our industry, and the ability for bright and focused young people to succeed very quickly.”
Rob Payne, chief executive of Best Western Great Britain, also agreed that “the research showed how much work the hospitality industry still has to do”, and admitted that skilled hospitality roles such as chefs were still difficult to fill.
He said: “[Hospitality] offers great, diverse and rewarding careers, offering fast promotion opportunities based on hard work, not grades, providing school leavers and graduates with a career for life, and yet we are clearly suffering a lack of confidence in our industry and its prospects.”