The hospitality industry needs to ‘plan for the worst' regarding an imminent labour shortage according to George Vezza, managing director, Nestlé Professional UK and Ireland.
During a panel discussion at the British Hospitality Association Hospitality Summit 2017, Vezza asked five hospitality professionals how they plan to inspire the future workforce.
He said that the current staff shortage is like "standing on the track knowing that the train is coming" quoting a recent study by KPMG that predicted a 65,000 job shortage per year if the industry didn't have an EU workforce available.
"Before Brexit staffing was an issue, but now it is going to get a hell of a lot worse," he said. "Some 75% of waiting staff are EU migrants."
Natalie Cramp, chief operating officer, Careers Enterprise Company said that brands need to open their doors to volunteers. "People volunteer because they want to see what you can offer them and the pathways," she said.
Cramp also encouraged businesses to "tell their stories better" by going into schools and showcasing the industry. She said: "Get role models in to schools and start changing perceptions. Bring someone in who started on the shop floor and worked their way up to the top. I think we have got more of those stories of progression than any other industry."
Nikki Kelly, employment and skills manager, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation shared Cramp's enthusiasm for volunteering. The operation recently took on a catering stand in the northern section of the stadium where 12 volunteers can work on match days. "It does better than any other kiosk in the grounds because it supports young people and has become a great employment mechanism."
Oliver Crofton, founder and CEO of staffing agency Flexy, said that businesses need to appeal to millennials by offering flexible working. "Gig economy is a temporary, task-based work. It's often given a bad rep because of the few companies that are exploiting it, however it offers work on a casual basis and that's what the modern workforce want."
Andrew Parkinson, operations director, Liverpool Football Club said they also rely on flexibility, and regularly visit colleges and schools to celebrate the industry: "We recently went out to colleges and assessment centres and spoke to 5,000 people about the club, how they can get involved and start them thinking about entering the industry and starting a career with us. One of the most important things is that we offer millennials flexibility and recognise their needs. We have done our best to make jobs available to a widest spectrum as possible."
Sophie Kilic, senior vice-president, talent and culture, hotelservices UK and Ireland for AccorHotels highlighted an importance in employing a diverse workforce.
She said: "If you want to grow as an industry you need to tap in to a diverse workforce. For the first time we have promoted as many female general managers as men which is huge for us." AccorHotels aim to achieve a total of 35% female senior positions across the brand.
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