The Hospitality Rising campaign has won official support from the Hospitality & Tourism Sector Skills Board (HTSB) to be the strategic face of the industry's biggest ever recruitment campaign, as latest figures show there are 400,000 vacancies across the sector.
The endorsement has made Hospitality Rising the official industry response to the recruitment crisis, backed by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). The campaign has been spearheaded by marketer Mark McCulloch (pictured).
Pret A Manger has become the latest employer to confirm its endorsement, joining businesses including the Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, Buzzworks, Hawksmoor, Hilton, Limewood Group, Punch Pubs, Rosa's Thai, Wahaca and Welcome Break.
Organisers led by McCulloch, who will move into the role of campaign director reporting to the HTSB, plan to raise up to £5m. They are encouraging employers across the industry to invest in the campaign, pledging £10 per employee.
McCulloch said: "To be approved as the industry's official campaign and response to the recruitment crisis is amazing. It means we can really accelerate what we are doing with Hospitality Rising – we can now go stratospheric.
"We see this approval as a call to action for industry colleagues to come together and get behind the campaign, not just emotionally but, importantly, financially too, as we seek to build a campaign war-chest. This will allow us to drive our message out to the UK public, tell all our fabulous stories and make hospitality a positive career choice for the very many, not the few."
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "The campaign cannot come soon enough. Our latest research shows the issues of recruitment and skills are absolutely mission-critical to the hospitality and tourism sectors. Many of our members are struggling with a significant level of vacancies; this campaign will enable hospitality to stage a vital intervention, and turn on a generation to the rich and varied roles and career pathways that our vibrant industry offers."
UKHospitality figures have suggested 400,000 vacancies across the hospitality sector and a further 100,000 staff absences, meaning that day-to-day the industry is missing half a million workers; more than 20% of the workforce.
McCulloch has also held senior marketing roles at Barclaycard, lastminute.com and YO! Sushi, and now heads brand and marketing consultancy Supersonic Inc. He has assembled creative minds including Google's lead creative agency Forever Beta and VCCP, whose clients include O2 and Compare the Market, plus behavioural economist Rory Sutherland and ex-Army lead recruitment brand strategist Matt Waksman, who both work at Ogilvy. PR consultancies the Fourth Angel and Tigerbond are also supporting the campaign.
Hospitality Rising has already secured more than £350,000 in pre-launch seed funding and intends to raise a multimillion fund of up to £5m to create and launch the campaign.
Hospitality Rising was formed last year by McCulloch to provide a solution to the recruitment challenges facing the industry by encouraging individual operators and suppliers to collectively change the perception of hospitality.