Hospitality from necessity is now totally reliant on embracing diversity
For far too long the hospitality industry has endured people and skills shortages and this results in our industry as a whole under delivering on our core skill, hospitality. Yes, there are many glorious exceptions, but…as a whole there just aren’t enough people with the required level of skills to ensure consistent delivery of hospitality across our industry.
So, let’s look at the current Work Pool Equation for Hospitality – where are the new people needed to work in hospitality potentially coming from?
- How many new people are needed?
Establishing precise numbers currently for the total number of new people required to start working in hospitality is difficult. In Nov 2016 KPMG produced a report for UKHospitality that showed upwards of 60,000 workers per year were then needed in addition to the ongoing recruitment of 200,000 workers required to replace churn and to power growth.
The requirement in Nov 2016 has grown and not diminished since the report by KPMG.
- New people currently out of work and looking for employment.
UK labour market: February 2019 – From the Office for National Statistics, The UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK.
UK Population in work = The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 years who were in work) was estimated at 75.8%, higher than for a year earlier (75.2%) and the joint-highest since comparable estimates began in 1971.
The unemployment rate (the number of unemployed people as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people) was estimated at 4.0%, it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975.
Conclusion: Currently the UK Work pool has the highest employment rate since records began 48 years ago – and at the same time the lowest level of unemployment since 1975. This shortage of workers should be considered alongside the highest number of job vacancies in the UK since comparable records began in 2001.
Fishing in this pool will require skilled anglers with alluring bait.
- Education and Apprenticeships: Students in higher education and people of all ages training in apprenticeships.
UK higher education and apprenticeship providers cannot increase the volume of people being trained to anywhere near the numbers required.
- Non UK workers entering the UK, especially EU nationals:
The future skills-based immigration system white paper sets out the government’s plans to introduce a new single immigration system, ending free movement.
The free movement of people to the UK to enter the hospitality work pool has been essential to our industry and its end can only make the people and skills shortages even more acute. We have set out precise factual reasons around this previously that can be accessed here.
What is the solution?
There are many ways hospitality employers can embrace and benefit from a diverse work pool and two are tried and tested to work well.
- People with disabilities
Office for National Statistics: Economic activity of people with disabilities aged 16-64: In Oct-Dec 2018 there were 362,122 people with disabilities who were unemployed.
People with disabilities are being trained by organisations like the Foxes Academy to enter a career in hospitality. The stated mission of Foxes Academy is: “To equip young adults with learning disabilities to find sustainable employment in the hospitality sector and to live independently.”
We have stayed at the Foxes Hotel where many disabled young people are in work training for careers in hospitality. Here’s our first-hand experience of our stay. Valuable human resources are available for employers who embrace diversity.
Other similar organisations exist, details of some of them and the hospitality employers benefitting from working with them can be seen here.
- Rehabilitated Prisoners
The 9th best restaurant in London of the 18,959 London restaurants rated by TripAdvisor is The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton. The restaurant is operated and run by prisoners training towards gaining nationally recognised City & Guilds NVQs before returning to their cells at the end of the working day. Upon their release, The Clink Charity helps graduates find employment within the catering and hospitality industry.
We have visited and dined at restaurants run by The Clink Charity. The food and the service is truly exceptional, all delivered by prisoners being rehabilitated to contribute rather than take from society.
- Wider diversity work pools can and have been identified and if we ‘follow the industry leaders examples’ we can all learn lessons.
We started with a view of the state of play across the entire UK Hospitality industry, so we’ll finish looking at how diversity has been embraced over the past ten years at one of our industry’s largest employers. Sodexo UK and Ireland employs 35,000 people, as far back as 2010 Sodexo was recognised as the best diversity employer in the world by DiversityInc.
We have also for many years reported on a great number of diversity initiatives and award received by Sodexo for embracing diversity and they can be seen here.
In conclusion: There is a large work pool of highly capable people available if diversity is embraced and our view on the options available is simple: There aren’t any options – Hospitality from necessity is now totally reliant on embracing diversity.