Report urges hospitality sector to look beyond young workforce

By James Wallin contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European commission, Employment

The young workforce that pubs rely on will start to dwindle, a report has warned
The young workforce that pubs rely on will start to dwindle, a report has warned
The pub sector has been warned that it cannot continue to rely on under-25s to solve its recruitment woes.

A report by charity People1st has revealed that 47% of staff in pubs, bars and clubs are under 25 while the figure is 60% when looking specifically at bar staff.

The figures are further broken down to show 14% of publicans and pub managers are under 25, as are 40% of kitchen and catering assistants and 19% of chefs.

However, the charity has highlighted concerns that demographic changes could hit the industry hard. The European Commission has estimated that by 2020 the EU working age population will have shrunk by 13m, the equivalent of 4%. People1st claims this will put added pressure on an industry where 6% of employers are already reporting hard-to-fill vacancies.

It recommends the sector adopts a new approach to recruitment, with an emphasis on attracting and retaining older workers. The report says some hospitality businesses are still reluctant to employ older workers because of the physical nature and long hours of some roles.

It also says businesses should also look at recruiting more migrant workers. However, it admits the number of migrant workers coming from within the UK is likely to fall because of their own demographic changes, while “significant political change” would be needed to allow greater migration from outside the EU.

People1st is also advocating actively supporting women to return to work and pursue their careers after periods of childcare.


The report concludes: “In the face of significant recruitment problems, the obvious answer is to retain the existing workforce. Labour turnover has historically been high in the hospitality industry with the latest figures suggesting that it currently stands at 20%, which is a fall of 10% from 2008. This is likely to be a very conservative figure, but even if that is the case it still means that approximately 365,675 people are leaving the sector each year. Annually, this is costing the industry approximately £274m to cover the costs of recruitment and initial training, never mind its impact on performance and productivity.

“Turnover rates are highest in the pubs, bars and nightclub sector (26%) and the lowest in self-catering accommodation, holiday parks and hostels (8%), reflecting the composition of (young) transient workers in these industries.

“There is increasing focus being paid to staff retention and in particular how career progression opportunities can not only help increase retention but also help address skill shortages for higher skill and management roles.”

Related topics: Training

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