The hospitality industry cannot afford to cut back on training if it is to recover from the recession, sector skills council People 1st has warned.
The call came after a People 1st survey of 1,300 businesses in the sector revealed that more than half (51%) plan to cut back on training to cut costs.
"This is a false economy," said People 1st chief executive Brian Wisdom. "For many years, the sector has not sufficiently trained enough young people and has relied on unskilled and migrant workers. This is not a viable business strategy for long-term growth."
While the industry has grown substantially in the past five years, there is evidence that employers are now cutting back as the recession starts to bite, the State of the Nation report reveals.
More than a quarter of the companies surveyed (26%) froze recruitment during the 12 months to March, while 24% cancelled plans to expand their workforce.
Yet, the industry is still suffering from skills shortages and the highest labour turnover of all sectors of the UK economy, standing at 31% in 2008.
Employers spent £414m on recruiting and developing new staff in the period with an average recruitment cost per vacancy of £673.20.
The report was issued in the week that People 1st retained its licence to operate after an assessment on behalf of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills.
By Daniel Thomas
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