UK hospitality charity Springboard has surveyed 15 of the UK’s biggest hospitality employers with a combined workforce of 103,500, to understand their recruitment concerns ahead of the reopening of indoor hospitality on Monday 17 May.
The results reveal that a massive skills gap lies at the heart of hospitality’s recruitment crisis, while some of the industry’s biggest players fear staff shortages may hamper their efforts to rebuild and recover from the pandemic.
Working in the hospitality industry requires a wide range of skills, from communication, customer service and cultural awareness, to multi-tasking, adaptability and attention to detail. However, whilst exploring the most important factors for recruiting talent, 80% of those surveyed said a lack of skilled candidates, specifically amongst young people, was a key concern. As a result, almost nine in ten employers (87%) are currently having to invest more time and money into retraining to ensure their current employees are well-prepared, after several months of furlough, to return to work with confidence.
As well as a lack of emerging talent, one in three (33%) of the UK’s biggest hospitality employers warned that they don’t currently have enough staff to cope with the expected increase in demand over the next few weeks and months. Almost nine in ten (87%) said they were finding it difficult to recruit for kitchen and back of house roles, while one in three said there was a lack of supply for critical senior management positions.
Some of the key findings from Springboard’s Hospitality Employer survey reveal that:
- 33% of employers don’t have enough staff to cope with the reopening of indoor hospitality
- 80% of employers surveyed said there is a lack of skilled talent coming into their business, specifically amongst young people
- 87% of employers surveyed said they are having to invest more time and money into retraining as colleagues return to work from furlough
The top five attributes hospitality employers look out for in young, upcoming talent, include:
- Strong communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to use own initiative
- Customer service experience
- Flexibility and multitasking
Springboard’s Hospitality Employer survey comes shortly after the charity saw a 400% increase in applications to the Kickstart scheme from hospitality employers, since the Prime Minister set out the lockdown ‘roadmap’ on 22 February.
To help businesses tap into a hard-to-reach national and regional pool of skilled talent, the charity has launched a new initiative ‘Springboard 2022’ which aims to have 10,000 young people ready to join the sector by 2022.
Commenting on the difficulty hospitality employers currently have filling jobs as the industry reopens, Chris Gamm, CEO of UK hospitality charity Springboard, said: “With the announcement that customers can return to indoor dining from 17th May, it’s important that
hospitality leaders and business owners look beyond this moment. Our industry was facing a skills shortage pre-pandemic and COVID-19 has put even more strain on this problem. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics proves just how critical this period is in terms of securing the industry’s long-term recovery post-Covid. To put it into context, the sector is the worst hit in terms of job losses with 355,000 fewer employees in the period between March 2020 and March 2021, accounting for 43% of the national total.
“However, I do believe that there’s an enormous amount of talent out there, which needs to be utilised by business owners and industry leaders, using this diverse pool of skills to secure the future of the hospitality sector and also inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders at such a crucial point in their careers. This is why, we, as a charity have launched a new initiative called ‘Springboard to 2022’, which aims to have 10,000 young people trained and ready for work by December 2022. Our training schemes offer young people the opportunity to develop skills across a wide range of job roles which are available in the industry, from the more typical front and back of house positions to opportunities across technology, finance, HR and marketing.
“It’s an extraordinary challenging time for employers across hospitality not only in terms of recruitment, but concentrating on survival and rebuilding. Therefore, we want to give the industry space to focus on the current challenges through our new initiative Springboard to 2022 which will ensure there is a skilled and engaged talent pipeline ready for when the industry needs it most.”