Hospitality Careers Not on the Menu for Young People

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Nearly half of young people in the UK would not consider a career in hospitality, despite the sector being one of the few currently offering opportunities at all qualification levels, Livebookings research reveals today.

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Nearly half of young people in the UK would not consider a career in hospitality, despite the sector being one of the few currently offering opportunities at all qualification levels, Livebookings research reveals today. With the latest ONS figures showing one in five 16-24 year olds in the UK is unemployed, the disconnect between the jobs on offer and what young people will consider is causing concern for industry experts.

Youth look elsewhere for ‘modern’ careers

Of 1,000 young adults (16-24yrs) questioned nationally, nearly half (43%) said they would not consider hospitality as a career option. Two in five said they felt the work would be boring and repetitive, nearly a third (29%) said the industry wasn’t forward-looking enough, and one in five felt it wouldn’t use their technology skills and knowledge of the internet and social media. A third (33%) felt their skills would be better suited to an office environment ‘with modern technology’.

Industry experts cite misunderstanding of the jobs on offer.

Peter Avis, Restaurant Manager for Babylon Restaurant, part of Sir Richard Branson’s luxury retreat collection Virgin Limited Edition, has travelled the world extensively in his work. Peter believes that the depth of skills and talent needed for front of house roles is vast, yet people generally don’t see beyond the person serving a table to see the exciting career path the job can lead to:

“Many young people entering the job market now don’t realise how much there is to a restaurant management role. We’re recruiting currently for Babylon and in addition to the traditional skills you’d expect we’re also looking for IT, marketing, and social media skills.”

North South divide

The research also found that young adults in the North of England were more willing to consider hospitality and leisure jobs than those in the South, despite the South having a proliferation of tourism and hospitality businesses. Of every ten young adults asked, six in Northern England would consider a hospitality job, compared to only five in Southern regions.

Jobs going spare

The latest quarterly Caterer.com and People 1st Hospitality Employment Index shows that job vacancies posted continued to rise throughout 2011. All UK nations and English regions experienced an increase in jobs advertised throughout 2011, particularly in London and the South East which, collectively (26,376), far exceeded the total postings for all other regions and nations (19,343). Job applications averaged 18 per job posted.

Val Carter, Learning and Development Director for ARAMARK, a Food Services provider, comments, “Our industry is an amazing place for young people to develop their career. There are so many options, from Marketing, IT, HR & Procurement through to the more traditional roles of restaurant and coffee shop management and culinary positions. I have worked in the business all of my life, and can’t think of a more forward thinking and innovative career. Nothing ever stands still, and Food Service has to find ways of satisfying a hugely diverse range of customer, from school children to university students and bankers to the military. There is a skills shortage and the moment, so we are crying out for young people keen to develop their skills. In this time of high youth unemployment, it must be remembered that there will always be jobs feeding people!”

Colin Tenwick, CEO of Livebookings, the European leading provider of online restaurant reservations, who commissioned the research comments, “The relevance of technology in a hospitality role isn’t instantly clear to the generation of young adults now entering the workplace, who have grown up with the internet and almost all own smartphones. But in fact, the majority of restaurants, bars and hotels have a clear commitment to marketing themselves online, and responding to changing consumer behaviour by taking internet and mobile bookings.”

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David Miller