Just 5% of young British adults considering a career in hospitality, survey finds

19 May 2022 by
Just 5% of young British adults considering a career in hospitality, survey finds

Just 5% of young adults in Britain are considering pursuing a career in hospitality, a new survey has suggested.

The update comes as firms compete for talent amid an ongoing staffing crisis in the pandemic and post-Brexit era.

Many businesses are looking to young home-grown talent to fill gaps in rotas, but a survey commissioned by jobs site Caterer.com found that 95% of school leavers are not even considering a career in the industry.

The research, which saw Opinium pollsters survey 1,000 young people aged 18-24, found over half (55%) of respondents saw working in hospitality as "just a temporary job", rather than a long-term career path.

Nearly half (44%) said they believed the sector "does not offer career progression".

Factors cited for shunning hospitality included seeking better pay (37%), good working hours (28%), better earning potential (26%), good career opportunities (23%), and wanting a less stressful career (20%).

The survey additionally revealed that 61% of young people thought the removal of food technology from the national curriculum had actively undermined their consideration of a career in the sector.

Researchers also polled 1,000 parents of young adults, and found that a mere 23% of caregivers would encourage their child to pursue a career in the hospitality sector. Reasons cited by parents included perceptions of low pay, anti-social working hours and poor earning potential.

Most parents told researchers that they would prefer their child explore a career in industries such as engineering, law, management, or finance.

Caterer.com director Kathy Dyball said it is "crucial we reach young people as they make critical decisions about their careers".

Dyball said that parents' "views on the sector are based on outdated experiences of past generations, and are not a true reflection of how the industry currently operates".

"These misconceptions need to be continually challenged," she said.

Several national initiatives attempting to attract young talent to the industry have launched since the staffing crisis first began to bite in 2021.

They include Hospitality Rising, a movement dedicated to increasing recruitment levels backed by chains from Wahaca and Hawksmoor to Pizza Express, and Choose Hospitality, led by names including Tom Sellers, owner of the Michelin-starred Story London. The chef's own career in hospitality began aged 16, when he started working in a pub after being expelled from school.

Many operators have increased wages and signing-on bonuses being offered in 2022 as businesses look to poach staff. Caterer.com data shows there are now a record number of hospitality sector roles offering more than £50,000 per year in compensation.

Image: Alena Marchuk / Shutterstock

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