Badly trained managers and poor human resources practices are costing the hospitality and tourism sector £900m a year because the industry can't hold on to its staff, according to new research.
With staff turnover at 30%, twice the national workplace average, the industry is losing 600,000 employees a year. It costs on average £1,500 to recruit and train replacements.
If the current poor rate of retention continues, the hospitality and tourism sector will be forking out a massive £6.2b in replacing lost staff by the time London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012, according to the research by Sector Skills Council People 1st.
The stark findings, revealed exclusively in Caterer, are drawn from the Skills Needs Analysis report presented to Tourism Minister James Purnell at a briefing last week. The report's authors canvassed 2,000 employers in the hospitality and tourism industries and held face-to-face talks with senior executives representing some 30% of the combined workforce.
People 1st chief executive Brian Wisdom said it was clear that, despite the large amount of money spent attracting staff, employers did little to keep them, with nearly half of those surveyed (48%) carrying out only regulatory training with no career development.
"There's also evidence that managers are being promoted earlier and earlier than they were five years ago, which is exacerbating the problem because they don't have the skills and experience required to be effective," Wisdom said.
The report also revealed many chefs had next to no academic training, with 42,000 of the 248,000 chefs in the UK having no qualifications at all, and 51,000 the equivalent of just five GCSEs at grades D to G.
"Uncomfortable reading, perhaps, but it must act as a call to action," Wisdom said. "Quite simply we are running out of people to employ and failing to keep hold of those we have at a time when the sector is growing and needs far more."
People 1st is currently developing a Skills Strategy to deliver the vocational qualifications employers want, although Wisdom warned that without more financial support from employers the speed at which this could be achieved would be slow.
By Chris Druce
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