Hospitality businesses forced to adapt roles to tackle skills shortage

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality businesses forced to adapt roles to tackle skills shortage

Related tags Cent Skill Training Apprenticeship Michel roux jr Sat bains

Hospitality operators are being forced to set up their own development and training schemes and even adapt roles to fit around candidates’ strengths as a shortage of skills hampers recruitment plans.

Figures gathered from an exclusive recruitment survey, carried out by BigHospitality and BigHospitality Jobs​ earlier this month, found that a shortage of skilled candidates is having a major impact on business with 59 per cent of respondents citing it as the main barrier to successful recruitment. 

Despite many bosses, such as Sat Bains​, and Michel Roux Jr​ adjusting work hours in a bid to attract and retain staff, just 8 per cent of operators said they thought offering a better work-life balance was the key to attracting staff. 

Eighteen per cent said salary expectations had been the main recruitment barrier while 13 per cent said their location was the main reason. 

In-house training 

To tackle the skills shortage, the survey of almost 300 restaurant, hotel and pub operators found that the majority (69 per cent) have simply adapted roles to meet skills while others are taking on the job of training staff themselves. Fifty-two per cent of operators said they had introduced an in-house training scheme over the last year to better equip staff with the skills they need. 

The director of a bar group said: “Recruitment seems to be getting harder. People don't seem to have the basic skills such as maths or a good work ethic.” 

Better on-the-job training was also a key area for retention, the survey found that 37 per cent of business saying they had invested in this area in the last 12 months to retain staff while 29 per cent said they’d adjusted salaries, 19 per cent adjusted benefits and 16 per cent had changed work hours. 

Interestingly, while many said they had introduced staff training, apprenticeships were not seen as a popular option with those surveyed. Only 37 per cent said they’d taken on an apprentice in the last year with lack of time (36 per cent) and the practice not working out previously (35 per cent) the main reasons. 

Chef shortage 

The role of the chef remains the hardest to fill across all sectors the survey revealed with 55 per cent of respondents saying they had struggled to find chefs. Front-of-house roles were the hardest to fill for 29 per cent of respondents while management roles were deemed to be easier to fill, particularly in hotels where just 4 per cent said they struggled to find hotel managers. 

The owner of a group of Indian restaurants said: “Our industry today is suffering from a serious lack of skilled chefs in all cadres. Our own sector within the industry is suffering immensely, not aided of course by the embargo on permits and the minimum wage demand by the Home Office either, but besides just finding suitable candidates we need to invest massively into specific ethnic food training and up-skilling now. It’s critical.” 

If you're looking to recruit skilled staff for roles, speak to our team at BigHospitality Jobs.

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