Recruitment in the hospitality sector will take a hit this year, although demand for high quality staff will remain consistent, experts have predicted.
Recruitment specialists told Caterer they don't expect 2008 to be as buoyant as in recent years after a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development claimed the UK was facing its "worst year for jobs in a decade".
Restaurants are expected to be particularly badly hit, according to Lois Heywood, managing director of executive recruiter Chess Partnership.
"It's always difficult to predict exactly what the market will do. However, we do have historical trends to give us pointers," she said. "Generally the London hotel market is still expecting to perform relatively well. Outside London, hospitality business is gearing up for a tough year - restaurants in particular."
Gary King, director of Collins King and Associates, said he was very concerned about the state of the UK economy. "I'm not expecting the growth we enjoyed in 2007 but I do expect the hospitality job market to hold steady in 2008," he said.
Despite the pessimistic outlook for the year ahead, good quality staff will always be in demand, according to Andy Cooney, head of marketing and development at pub group Marston's. "This year the pub sector is under pressure for recruitment but there are growth areas such as food, which tends to use more highly skilled staff," he said. "If you're looking for a job and can offer good quality, the hospitality industry will welcome you with open arms."
With the economy tightening, pubs will not be able to afford to make mistakes when it comes to recruitment, Cooney warned. "Because of the pressures in the economy, you will have some tenants who have to be careful about their cost lines and recruiting quality staff will make a real difference," he said.
By Gemma Sharkey
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