The changing shape of the hospitality workforce has been revealed in new research from workforce management app, Deputy.
The Rebuilding Hospitality: The Changing Shape of the UK Workforce report reveals that nearly a quarter of a million workers aged 25-40 (Millennials) are estimated to have left the industry between December 2019 and October 2021. This has accelerated a trend of replacing these workers with under 25s (Gen Z) and the need for training and development to address lost knowledge and management capability.
Conducted by independent economist Shashi Karunanethy, the research analysed 1,528,542 shifts from Deputy’s rostering system worked by more than 14,000 UK hospitality workers in the past 22 months. Examining bars and pubs, accommodation, cafes and coffee shops, fast food and takeaway businesses, and sit down restaurants – it reveals a significant shift in industry staffing.
The proportion of Millennials working in the sector has declined from 49% to 42%, equating to a loss of around 210,000 workers. At the same time, the proportion of workers from Gen Z has risen by 5%, which equates to around 150,000 workers.
On the transition, Shashi Karunanethy, said: “Half a year since Covid restrictions began to ease, hospitality employment levels are still well below pre-pandemic levels. They’ve lost a huge proportion of their workforce and are currently more reliant on young staff than ever before.
“Looking at the Millennial age group, it’s understandable that some of those with young families and with more bills to pay may have moved into roles that flourished during lockdowns, such as supermarket work and delivery driving. We also lost a huge number of Millennial workers who originated from outside of the UK, due to the timing of Covid and Brexit. Many of them worked in the restaurant, hotel and pub sectors in the UK and they simply haven’t returned since the Covid restrictions eased.”
According to the report, the exodus of those aged 25 to 40 and growth in those 24 and under could be seen across:
- Fast food and Takeaway (Gen Z grew from 26% to 38% of the workforce, Millennials declined from 51% to 43%)
- Bars and Pubs (Gen Z grew from 31% to 35%, Millennials declined from 51% to 48%)
- Accommodation (Gen Z grew from 26% to 29%, Millennials declined from 45% to 41%
- Cafes and Coffee shops (Gen Z grew from 31% to 33%, Millennials declined from 55% to 50%)
David Kelly, General Manager EMEA at Deputy added: “In the long term, the surge in young people joining the industry is really good news for the future. However, right now, it’s a particularly testing time for business owners and managers who are already grappling with supply-chain disruption, utility cost inflation, VAT rises to come in April, caps on business relief rates, and staff shortages. Many business owners are having to vary their opening hours in line with staff availability. Managing that process is a huge challenge, even with a staff of industry veterans, let alone new starters. Up-skilling the next generation of staff will be vital to long-term success.”