New research carried out by The Caterer, as part of the Think Again campaign, has revealed that nearly 82% of those within the hospitality industry are finding recruitment harder than ever.
The Caterer, in association with food service firm Sodexo, also revealed that a staggering 93% of respondents stated that they were either finding recruitment somewhat difficult (44%) or very difficult (49%).
The survey questioned a variety of people from the hospitality industry, including food services, hotels and restaurants, focussing on current recruitment issues and why they felt the industry was experiencing a particularly hard time.
The results revealed two strong opinions for the lack of candidates. One, the perception people have of the industry (34%) and the other, the perceived long working hours required (27%). The survey also revealed the perceived lack of career progression (16%) as another significant barrier stopping people from entering the industry.
The survey results show there is a lot of work to be done to change the traditional views of the hospitality industry and its working environment. Especially as a 12.6% wage increase has gone unnoticed by the wider public.
The research also explored how the perception of the industry could be positively changed to ensure that it attracts enough candidates. This is crucial in the light of Brexit, where currently 73% of respondents stated they would not be able to fulfil their vacancies without EU workers.
The consensus key change for the industry to improve recruitment was identified by engaging the younger generation. Points of action included a more positive and favourable portrayal of the industry within the media, incorporating work placements into education and having Ambassadors visit schools to highlight the industry.
When questioned which age bracket should be focussed on, the respondents agreed that students aged between 11 and 16 would be the ideal target to highlight the industry as a career destination.
However, these changes will take time and these suggestions for improving the perception of the industry focus on changing the perception of school leavers and not improving the current recruitment crisis. It is clear that current perception of the industry among the working population needs to be improved, and tackling the gender pay gap will begin this process.