Hospitality skills shortage debate at the Great Hospitality Show Birmingham NEC 2017

Hospitality skills shortage debate at the Great Hospitality Show Birmingham NEC 2017

by Sarah King

Orcinus Recruit, Managing Director Sarah King on the panel of Hospitality Industry Experts, debating the industry and worldwide shortage of Chefs and Hospitality Staff at the Great Hospitality Show, Birmingham NEC, 25th January 2017.

With the Hospitality Industry skills shortage continuing to challenge sector, this was a key topic at the Business Briefing Stage.

Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality chaired the panel of industry experts which included Cyrus Todiwala, OBE Restaurateur, Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director of People 1st, Sarah King, Managing Director of Orcinus Recruit Ltd and John Hyde CBE, Chief Executive, HIT Training.

Martin-Christian Kent opened the discussion with a presentation outlining where the skills shortage lies and indicating that Chefs account for 45% of the skills shortage with 131,576 chef jobs advertised between 1st January and 30 November 2016.

One of the biggests driving forces is the massive expansion of the industry giving a figure of 235,220 chefs and cooks working across the economy in 2016. With the biggest growth in mainstream restaurants this opens the question of what is a Chef now, with businesses looking for many diverse and different skill-sets.

Martin also comments that "Chefs are moving around more-so for money than to broaden their experience, which is a real change from 5-10 years ago." and  that 14,000 chef students are not staying the industry longer than 6 Months due to the perceived pressure and long working hours.

However, John mentions that "34% of young people are interested in coming into the Hospitality Sector, however the millenial generation don't want to go straight out to work".

So what can be done? Here are some snippets of advice from the panel of experts.....

Martin - "We need to maximise benefits of Apprentiships"

Sarah - "Sitting down with young people and explaining how they can progress their careers will help retain them" also "Educating parents and they have alot of questions about their child's career"

Cyrus comments "Nurturing and guiding young people" is key, backed up by Peter "As an industry we have to recognise (young people), and that we have to adapt our management, we have to sit down and understand their needs and their aspirations and work with our organisations to drive change, whether through shift patterns and mentoring... we need to understand that younger people need far more praise and reassurance that they are doing a good job."

Sarah highlights that alot of skills shortages have come from employers not working closely with the teams and that over promotion is leading to high expectations on salary, when the employee does not have the necessary skills. This comes down to company's feeling threatened that they may lose an employee and to retain them they get promoted too early in their career. Sarah say this needs to be combatted and "They need to be given a clear structure to training and progression."

Watch the video below to hear Sarah's comments