Just 17% of parents view a career in a hotel or restaurant in a positive light, according to hotel group Best Western’s Careers Index.
More worryingly for the hospitality sector, the research - timed to coincide with the announcement of GCSE and A Level results - found that one-third of parents (31%) would actively discourage their child from a career in hospitality.
Poor pay was the most popular reason for this, with 61% of respondents citing low wages as a factor while 52% highlighted the perceived long hours people worked in the as another disincentive to enter the sector.
The independent survey of more than 1,000 parents revealed that medicine is the top preferred career for the second year in a row, with 48% of parents saying they would be happy to see their child become a doctor.
Becoming a sales professional was viewed as the least desirable career option. Drivers, farmers and cleaners were also not considered desirable.
“Despite the popularity of TV shows focused on the hospitality sector, as an industry we are still struggling to fill positions and for the second year running our survey shows parents still don’t see hospitality is a first-choice career,” says Les Asplen, Best Western Great Britain’s managing director.
“Opportunities to climb the career ladder are based on hard work and aptitude, not grades, and more school leavers should be considering us as first choice career, not just a summer job.”