Now is the time to attract a generation of new workers to the hospitality industry, according to Barbara Cassini, chairman of Jurys Inns
The hospitality sector is experiencing a resurgence as an attractive place to work. A few years ago, Jurys Inns could not have launched a national recruitment drive to fill 800 positions in our 10 new hotels and had such a stunning result. One hundred applicants for every vacancy reveals the state of the jobs market and the relative attractiveness of both our sector and Jurys Inns.
A closer look at the profile of people wanting to work in the first of our new hotels, in Sheffield and Watford, surprised us further. Accountants, retail executives, construction, banking and even former soldiers all applied to work in the hotel sector, including some for non-management jobs.
Such unprecedented demand for jobs in the hospitality sector suggests a unique opportunity to be at the front of the queue for new talent. We can infuse our workforce with new skills, experiences and personalities from previously more attractive sectors to bolster our skills base.
From a branding perspective, the public's new-found interest in hotel jobs can reposition the image of a career in hospitality, allowing our industry to leave behind the misconception as a bad employer that still exists.
Graduates, professionals and those seeking work will today enter a hotel market comprising some of the most progressive employers in the UK, offering advanced training, management programmes, international travel and great prospects.
The consumer's reaction to the downturn is to want more value for less in tough times. Jurys' commitment to great hospitality and great service allows us deliver our value promises, but only if we continue to attract the best talent.
An unexpected benefit of the recession is attracting different people from sectors cutting back. By being open-minded and bold in a recruitment market that favours sectors such as travel and tourism, we can stockpile the best skills for when the economy recovers.
Our reputation as an industry is sure to grow, and that is a prize for all hospitality chief executives to relish.