Due for a makeover? Hospitality's plan back into our hearts

By Andrea Tamba · Jun 23, 2022

Historically, the hospitality industry has been a major contributor to the UK economy, boasting an economic output of £59.3 billion in 2019.

However, this figure pales in comparison to the reported £20bn total it could generate per year if only it had better PR.

The public perceive jobs within the industry as rather transitory, a temporary post which requires little skill until a ‘real job’ comes about. In all actuality, a role within hospitality equips you with the best skillset you’d ever need: skills in human interaction, which transcends any other skill. 

The business of human relationships is no small feat, as you move through the world with your best deck of communication skills, skills you can build on and nurture from behind the bar at The Scottish Stores, or in the kitchen at Pilpel.

A study by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) revealed that only 5% of young people are actually considering a career in hospitality, as they believe that a position in Hospitality lacks career prospects. When you factor in that more than half of the 355,000 people in hospitality who lost their jobs during the pandemic were under 25 year olds, it follows that the industry is not particularly popular with its young workforce at the moment.

So what is being done to fix this image?

Hospitality is taking it to school grounds

A career in hospitality should be championed within schools the same way that a career with law is.  ‘We’re…going into primary schools with our sushi schools, and they absolutely love it’ says Sophie Killic (Killic is senior vice-president of HR at global hotel group Accor) about the campaign to capture ‘young hearts and minds’ in an effort to attract people to the sector.

This will inspire passion within the future workforce, so they grow up with ardent love for the industry.

The big HospitalityRising campaign:

It’s in the name. 

The biggest names in hospitality, Hilton, Hawskmoor, Pret a Manger and hundreds more, have united and risen in a recruitment campaign which aims to shine a light on the diverse and enriching careers hospitality can offer. Led by Mark McCulloch, who wants to portray hospitality as ‘exciting, creative and rewarding’ the movement has amassed over £700,000 so far.

Video focused recruitment

Historically workers have come into the industry, into the restaurants and the pubs and cafes and hotels, with no prior knowledge of the culture they will be entering. And they end up leaving rather swiftly. Video focused recruitment offers potential employees a portal into the culture they will be joining; there’s nothing worse than investing into something you like on paper, to then find out you’re not quite the match made in heaven. This change in recruitment tactic will speak to the gen z workforce, and attract only the passionate.

Flexible working

The restaurant Social Eating house is offering as many as three days off for all employees -and they’re not the only ones embracing this new landscape. Caterer.com reveals that 40% of hotel employers have been receiving requests for the right to work flexibly, and Travelodge has been particularly accommodating to these requests. In 2020 they appealed specifically to unemployed parents with a promise of ‘flexible hours that can work around the school run.’ 

Flexible working is here to stay.