95% of School Leavers Are Not Considering a Career in Hospitality

With hospitality businesses facing talent shortages alongside increased demand and higher customer expectation, employers are focused on attracting the next generation of skilled workers. However new research from specialist recruitment solutions partner, https://www.caterer.com/, reveals that 95% of school leavers are not currently considering a career in the sector.

The research highlights the challenges facing pub, restaurant, hotel owners and caterers as they strive to boost the sector’s image following a sharp drop in available talent, particularly from outside the UK.

Whilst Caterer.com data shows a jump in salaries and a record number of roles offering more than £50,000 a year, the research also shows that a lack of information on potential career opportunities has led to misconceptions about the sector with over half (55%) of school leavers viewing hospitality jobs as just a temporary fix and 44% believing that the sector does not offer career progression.

As part of a range of industry initiatives to tackle the problem, Caterer.com has partnered with https://www.youthemployment.org.uk/ and https://www.choosehospitality.co.uk/ to launch a campaign that will provide school leavers with advice and real-world interviews showcasing the breadth of roles through a range of engaging content.

Parents and the curriculum discouraging school leavers

The research shows that parents have the biggest influence on career choices of school leavers, however just one in five (23%) would encourage their child to pursue a career in the hospitality sector as they believe it offers low pay, has anti-social working hours and there is a poor earning potential. Most parents would prefer their child to explore a career in industries such as engineering, law, management, or finance.

Furthermore, many young people feel that they have not been properly informed about hospitality jobs at school and 61% feel the removal of food technology from the national curriculum has undermined a career in the sector. Any presence of hospitality within the curriculum has historically focused solely on kitchen-based roles, which fails to inform students about the vast breadth of roles and opportunities within the sector.

Positive signs but a long way to go

Despite negative parental influence and only five percent planning to have a career in hospitality, the research shows over half (56%) of school leavers agree that the sector is an attractive career option. Some of the biggest draws are the opportunity to learn new skills (30%), flexible hours (28%), wanting to work with the public (24%), variety (21%) and having the opportunity to travel (17%).

Of those that were not interested in a career in the sector the top factors that would encourage them to reconsider were better pay (37%), good working hours (28%), better earning potential (26%), good career opportunities (23%), and if it was a less stressful career (20%).

Kathy Dyball, Director at Caterer.com said:
“In an industry wide effort to attract and retain talent, many hospitality employers have taken great steps to improve pay, offer comprehensive benefit packages and flexible working hours. As an industry, we are also taking action to address the misconceptions of the sector, promote the long-term development opportunities and ensure we have a healthy pipeline of entry level talent to move the sector forward. To do this, it’s crucial we reach young people as they make critical decisions about their careers. At Caterer.com we have teamed up with Youth Employment UK and Choose Hospitality to create a series of videos showing real-life ‘hospitality heroes’ in action, which will be used as an educational resource in schools around the UK.

“We also know parents play a big role in their child’s career choices, however sadly our research shows that many parents wouldn’t encourage their children to pursue a role in hospitality. Their views on the sector are based on outdated experiences of past generations, and are not a true reflection of how the industry currently operates. These misconceptions need to be continually challenged. Our research shows positive signs upon which industry employers can continue to build upon this in their employment packages.”

Breaking the barriers to entry to the hospitality industry

Caterer.com’s campaign in partnership with Youth Employment UK and Choose Hospitality will showcase an ongoing series of videos, featuring real-world interviews with hospitality workers and leading chefs, in schools across the country. These will act as educational career guides and will showcase to both pupils and parents the world-leading brands and progressive opportunities that the industry can offer from entry level up.

Carlito Carroll, Commis Chef Apprentice at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, is one of the stars of the Hospitality Heroes series. Carlito commented: “I was studying a variety of courses in school and looking at jobs in engineering when one day I sat down and decided to do something I loved – cooking. It brings me so much joy so I decided to find an apprenticeship course because it would allow me to earn whilst I work and learn!! I really get excited about coming into Nobu Hotel London Portman Square – cooking, seeing people happy once they eat my food and sharing the same passion as my colleagues.”

James Wingerath, Director at Youth Employment UK said: “Young people have told us that they are not aware of the amazing opportunities available to them. The Hospitality Heroes videos and supporting guidance are a great resource to inform young people about the many job roles available in the sector and how to access them.”

Claire Bosi, Editor at Choose Hospitality, added: “We created the Choose Hospitality initiative to inspire and educate people on the vast range of opportunities across the sector. We work with many industry ambassadors to share their experiences and demonstrate just how exciting and rewarding a career in hospitality can be. After all, who’s better placed to showcase how great the industry is, than people in the industry.”