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Role redesign could be solution to the sector's growing skills gap

11 November 2016
Role redesign could be solution to the sector's growing skills gap

Retention and promotion of female staff is key to the shortage, says Martin-Christian Kent, executive director, research and policy, People 1st

move them into senior roles.

Progressing more female staff matters. By 2024 we need an additional 226,000 managers in the hospitality and tourism sector. But in the past four years the number of women in managerial positions has risen by only 18,254, which means far more needs to be done to reduce the shortfall.

Currently, 64% of all part-time roles in the hospitality and tourism sector are filled by women, rising to 80% in contract food and service management and 74% in
hotels. Part-time jobs are not in themselves a cause of high labour turnover: part-time roles are what some people want, and they are especially attractive to women with childcare commitments. However, the rising number of women doing two jobs in the sector highlights that some are looking for more hours and better opportunities.

Currently, 58% of second jobs are filled by women, and there are over 3,000 more women with two jobs in the sector than three years ago. The challenge for many
businesses trying to increase staff retention and progression is that many women are in part-time roles that offer fewer progression opportunities. Women make up the majority of those working in school and industrial kitchens, yet we still have a critical skill shortage for chefs. Similarly, while 71% of waiting staff are female, they represent only 41% of restaurant managers.

The extent to which a business can address these issues depends on the type of roles in their organisation and the career opportunities on offer. Businesses focusing
on retaining and progressing more women, interviewed for People 1st's Women 1st campaign, are taking a number of approaches, including redesigning job
roles to increase hours and responsibilities, proactively identifying career opportunities elsewhere across the business that allow for more progression, and offering job shares for supervisory and management positions.

Hospitality businesses can also target staff working elsewhere in the sector with fewer career opportunities. For example, the industry is struggling to recruit 11,000 chefs by 2024, yet many staff working in kitchens in schools and other institutional settings are female; they have many of the technical skills required and simply lack the opportunity and the support and development to move up.

Rising staff costs and the increasing emphasis on retention and progression gives businesses an opportunity to think afresh about the type of career opportunities they are offering, and whether job redesign and better career progression signposting and
support can boost staff retention.
Above all, it's time to look at whether
the retention of female employees can be
increased by looking differently at the kind
of roles that women are filling.

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