If you’re job hunting at the moment, the hospitality industry could offer an easy solution to employment.
This is because the industry is crying out for workers as it is suffers from a 30 per cent – and in some cases even bigger – worker shortfall.
The lack of experienced staff that could fill roles means that now, more than ever, jobseekers stand a higher chance to landing a well-paying senior role.
Even if you land a junior job there’s the potential to escalate rapidly up the career ladder if you do well, say experts.
Jobs platform, Indeed, says that since the Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement in February, job postings in the food and preparation service category shot up by 711%
Why is there a staff shortage?
Typically, many European workers fill hospitality roles, such as waitrons, chefs, and bar manager and sommeliers, but because of travel restrictions and Brexit fewer EU workers have been able to return to work in hotels, restaurants and other hospitality establishments.
The unpredictability and uncertainty of the sector has increased the reluctance of people entering the sector.
Closures in the industry, the stop/start lockdown, slow re-openings and social distancing rules have made people particularly nervous about the sector which has seen 660,000 jobs lost in 2020 alone, according to the Office for National Statistics.
According to jobs platform, Indeed, since the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown announcement in February, job postings in the food preparation and service category on the website have increased 711 per cent – as of 14 May.
Postings in the sector are now 14 per cent above 1 Feb 2020, pre-pandemic levels, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Jennifer Johansson, CEO of recruitment app Placed, says the hospitality industry needs to market itself better to attract more staff
However, jobseeker interest in food preparation and service hasn’t kept pace with the rise in job postings: each food prep job is now receiving only 76 per cent of the clicks of the average job on Indeed, down from 189 per cent in February.
Jennifer Johansson, chief executive of recruitment app Placed, says the industry is also at fault as it’s not marketing itself correctly or doing anything about how people perceive the industry.
It means that the industry is not seen as glamorous in the UK.
She says: ‘We did a survey with our candidates and there is this real stigma working the industry.
‘People are not seeing it as a career and even those working in the industry before are not viewing it as a secure career.’
‘If you look at hospitality it’s not promoted in schools and it has not educated people from the start.
‘There are interesting careers offered both in terms of learning opportunities and progression.’
How can you get a job in hospitality?
Walk in from the street: This is not an uncommon strategy to get employment in restaurants and bars. Some still advertise roles in windows and encourage passers-by to ‘enquire within’.
Show passion and enthusiasm: This is often sought after as it’s something that can’t be taught. But skills such as bar tending, and waitressing can be taught.
Identify transferable skills: Loc Bui, founder of cookery school Loc’s Taste of Vietnam says: ‘People who have life skills and customer service experience can transfer well into the industry and learn about food and drink on the job.’
Consider volunteering: If you’re uncertain about switching careers, you could volunteer your services to a restaurant or other hospitality establishment. It could help to gain valuable experience and improve your network in the industry.
Use social media: Update your social media profiles and your cover letter. Jobs can be found on platforms like Indeed, Facebook and mobile apps like Placed.
Network: Jennifer Johansson, CEO of recruitment app Placed, says: ‘If you know someone it is easy to get a job through word of mouth, but you don’t necessarily need to have a network.’
Highlight previous experience: If you’ve worked as a waiter or barman as a student this experience will still prove valuable.
Jennifer says: ‘People with previous experience – even if it was 20 years ago – are definitely attractive. I’d definitely encourage you to look at hospitality as an option.’
Historically, the sector has offered rates in line with the national minimum wage supported by gratuity, but this is changing.
One restaurant group, Hawksmoor, is going through unusual ways of recruiting more people into the industry by offering a £2,000 bonus to workers who recommend friends for jobs to fill roles.
Another chain is reportedly emailing customers with gift voucher incentives if they recommend people for jobs that go on to be hired by the group.
When it comes to the restaurant industry variation of pay can still be vast between chain brands and independent members.
Loc Bui, founder of cookery school Loc’s Taste of Vietnam, says: ‘For example, a general manager for a chain can expect to earn from £30,000 however it can be £22,000 in an independent.’
Jennifer maintains salaries can be much higher at management level in the hotel sector. ‘You can make it to management level which you can do very quickly. There’s no need to work for a certain number of years.
‘A salary for a hotel and restaurant manager can be £60,000 and above and you can make a really good living in the industry as well.’
Meanwhile, Indeed says it’s seen a modest uptick in wages.
A spokesperson says: ‘The median advertised rate for pub and restaurant jobs was £9.35 an hour, an increase of 1.1 per cent over the rate of £9.25 an hour in the first quarter of 2021.’
Jack Kennedy, economist at the global job site Indeed, adds: ‘But while punters have been braving the weather for a chance to visit their favourite venues, jobseeker interest in the glut of job opportunities has been decidedly chillier, causing employers to modestly raise hourly wages in a bid to attract workers.’
While the salaries can be respectable the industry is still known for its unsociable working hours and long shifts.
Loc explains: ‘There is a lack of respect and recognition for the industry.
‘People don’t want to work the long and unsociable hours that are expected These roles often have weekly working hours in excess of 60 hours and often up to 80.’
Loc Bui, founder of cookery school Loc’s Taste of Vietnam, says he struggled to recruit for his restaurant that he ran for 16 years and closed down in January this year
Not a long-term career?
Loc says there’s a long history of staff shortages in the hospitality industry in the UK as people don’t recognise it as a career.
He says: ‘People view it as more of a stop gap job. I have certainly struggled to recruit in my restaurant that I ran for 16 years until January this year and continue to struggle to find experienced staff to help out in my private dining service.
A salary for a hotel and restaurant manager can be £60,000 and above and you can make a really good living in the industry as well.
Jennifer Johansson, chief executive of Placed
‘The perception of the general public is these jobs are unskilled and not a profession.
‘The hours are often long and unsociable and therefore often don’t support longevity especially in female members of staff who may go on to have a family.
‘The workforce has traditionally been supported by students looking for part time temporary work and foreign nationals for whom it is a more recognised and respected career.’
Jennifer says that in countries like Sweden or in the US, ambitions to enter into the hospitality sector aren’t frowned upon. ‘It’s very much encouraged.
‘If you’re a barman at a fancy hotel or bar in New York, then that’s considered a very respected job.
The industry has attracted to attract British workers because hospitality is perceived as less glamorous, with long hours and poor pay
‘The stigma [about the industry] is not correct. There are amazing career opportunities. Things do need to change in the industry too – particularly the long hours, where working nine to five is considered a half shift.’
When it comes to the UK Jennifer believes it’s possible to get a decent paying role within the industry – even if you don’t have experience.
She says: ‘Businesses will have to consider attitude as a skill rather than experience.
‘If you can demonstrate good communication, resilience and attention to detail you have a good opportunity to get a good management role and doing some training beforehand.
‘There is training that’s vital for bar tender, sommelier but that’s usually provided at all levels and by the establishment.’
While there are plenty of opportunities and ways to get paid in the industry it’s the image that will take some time to polish up. But Jennifer maintains that this is something everyone can take part in to turn around.
‘It’s perceived as an unskilled dead-end job. It’s not going to happen overnight that the perception changes, but it needs to be addressed but there’s no better time than now to do it.
Get hired! We showcase seven hospitality establishments recruiting right now
There are 279 jobs on offer including bar staff roles for summer events and festivals and catering assistant jobs.
The hotel group have 279 jobs available from receptionist roles to food and beverage assistant and guest service assistants.
The British restaurant chain which specialises in Asian food has 240 jobs available and is looking for front of house teams, kitchen porters and chefs.
The South African fast food chain is looking to fill 359 roles, which include a cashier, front of house team member and kitchen assistant.
The national pub and restaurant chain has 971 jobs up for grabs. They want to hire bar, floor and kitchen staff.
There are 641 jobs available to work at this American multinational company. Roles on offer include room attendant, spa receptionist and leisure club attendant
Merlin Entertainments have 125 jobs on offer. Positions they are looking to fill include ride attractions host, food and beverage assistant and hotel front of house assistant.
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