Migrants and jobless youth key to stemming the hospitality skills gap

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Both migrants and young people have an important role to play in filling the hopsitality skills gap
Both migrants and young people have an important role to play in filling the hopsitality skills gap

Related tags Employment

As the hospitality sector moves closer to the impending skills crisis, new research has shown migrants and unemployed young people could play an important role in helping tackle the industry's recruitment woes.

A report published by People 1st​ today revealed the rise of migrant workers in skilled and managerial hospitality roles, while a separate report from the Princes Trust and HSBC said businesses must give jobless youngsters a chance if they want to fill skilled positions in the future.

Migrant workers

The People 1st​ study published today, based on EU research on migrant employment in the UK, revealed that migrant workers now account for more than a quarter (26 per cent) of employees in the hospitality sector, up from 23 per cent in 2009.

Furthermore, the research showed an increasing number of skilled roles and managerial positions are being held by people born outside the UK. Migrant workers now hold 28 per cent of all hospitality managerial positions (up from 20 per cent in 2009) and 37 per cent of all skilled roles such as chef positions.


People 1st said employers will need to turn to migrants to help fill the 524,000 new hospitality jobs forecast by 2020, particularly as unemployment rates fall and the labour market becomes more competitive.

Martin-Christian Kent, executive director at People 1st, said: “It’s a simple fact that without migrants working in our industry, we would have far greater skill gaps and skills shortages that we currently do. In fact, our industry is the fourth largest employer of people from abroad, with 6 per cent of all migrants in the UK work in hospitality.

“Just two examples really show the real impact migrants are having; 44,000 restaurant and catering managers are born outside the UK, and so are 91,000 chefs.”

Young people

Meanwhile, a separate report from The Princes Trust and HSBC urged British businesses to employ more jobless young people to avoid the impending skills crisis.

The Prince’s Trust and HSBC report, based on interviews with 616 UK business leaders across multiple sectors, revealed the majority (73 per cent) of British businesses believe a ‘significant skills crisis’ will hit within the next three years.

However, while most businesses (72 per cent) agree recruitment of young people is vital to if the UK is to avoid a skills crisis, many employers are hesitant to recruit youngsters that have been out of work.

Seven in 10 of respondents said they believe jobless young people face stigma from employers in general, while two thirds (67 per cent) admitted they could be more open-minded about recruiting unemployed young people in their own business.


Next generation

Concluding that ‘upskilling the next generation’ is vital to avert the possibility of a skills gap, the report called on employers to be more open-minded and give jobless young people a chance.

“It is deeply concerning that employers are struggling to fill vacancies when we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people desperate for work,” said Martina Milburn CBE, chief executive of The Prince’s Trust said.

“The current economic recovery is encouraging, but in order to sustain this growth, UK plc needs to invest in the next generation to avoid a skills vacuum in the future, which threatens to hamper economic growth.

"We are urging businesses to take action now to up-skill the workforce of the future to prevent the bubbling skills crisis from boiling over.”

Are you looking for a job in hospitality? Or perhaps you want to hire a new employee for a key position within your company? our jobs website jobs.bighospitality.co.uk​ specialises in vacancies across restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs and clubs.

Related topics Trends & Reports Casual Dining

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