More than 165,000 workers over 50 have joined the hospitality sector in the last three years, according to a new report from industry recruitment platform Caterer.com.
The report reveals that people over 50 now make up over a third (34%) of the sector’s workforce. This proportion is up 14% on February 2020 levels.
More than four in five (84%) hospitality businesses have introduced age diverse policies and benefits to improve their proposition for this demographic, ranging from re-entry or returner programmes (49%), age inclusive diversity and inclusion training for all staff (23%) through to flexible scheduling to accommodate individual needs (21%).
With sustained labour shortages, the report shows how the sector has been quick to adapt to attract previously untapped talent pools. Age diversity is the top priority for hospitality employers when it comes to improving the diversity, equity, and inclusion of their workforce and the vast majority (77%) of hospitality employers say over 50s are important in solving the sector’s labour shortages.
The report says that contract services provider Compass Group, brewer Fuller’s, and The Wolseley Hospitality Group are among the businesses building age diverse workforces and attracting over 50s talent.
Kathy Dyball, director at Caterer.com, said: “We know that age diversity is a top priority for hospitality employers when it comes to improving the diversity, equity and inclusion of their workforce.
“Hospitality businesses are paving the way for other sectors with the introduction of truly age diverse policies and hiring approaches, and the rewards are clear to see.
“This is a strong and innovative sector and employers within it continue to evolve in order to succeed, despite the many challenges of the current trading environment.
“Employees over 50 offer a wealth of experience and transferrable skills, which enhance the overall customer experience and foster a positive workplace culture.
“With the UK experiencing an ageing population, and the hospitality sector still seeking to fill 118,000 open vacancies (ONS), this growing talent pool is a clear and ready source of new hires.”
The report asked why more over 50s are joining the hospitality industry.
Four in five (72%) hospitality employers agree that the cost-of-living crisis is inspiring more people over the age of 50 to take on new jobs to boost their income.
The report concluded that nearly 3m people over 50 in the UK would consider a job in the hospitality industry, and the most common drivers for this go well beyond financial reasons. The sector provided this age demographic with opportunities to keep physically active and build social connections, with job roles to suit almost any schedule.