Chef Recruitment Crisis

Industry will need 11,000 new chefs by 2022 to combat chef shortage

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Crisis "raises serious questions" for the kitchens of the future
Crisis "raises serious questions" for the kitchens of the future

Related tags Recruitment

The hospitality industry will need to recruit an additional 11,000 chefs by 2022, according to workforce development charity People 1st.

The industry is widely accepted to be in the throes of a critical chef recruitment crisis, with People 1st​ reporting that 42% of current chef vacancies are considered hard to fill.

Martin Christian-Kent, executive director of People 1st​, said: “The growth in more deformalized, casual dining – where it is the consumers and not establishments deciding when they want to eat – has seen the UK branded pub and restaurant market attracting an extra 47 million visits each year compared to five years ago.

“This, allied to a refocus on locality, seasonality and authenticity, has arguably fragmented the chef job description and increased the number of people who work under the job title of ‘chef’ but carry out wildly vary tasks using different skills.”

He added that the crisis had raised serious questions for the kitchens of the future when it comes to how to properly define the role of a 21st​ century chef, what skills people looking to work in the sector in future will require and how best to recruit, develop and train the best candidates.

In response to this, People 1st is set to embark on a large-scale body of industry research with a range of operators across the sector.

Christian-Kent said: "In undertaking the research, we will seek to formulate a breakdown, by skillset, of chefs working in the hospitality industry and where they are typically found, while getting a greater sense of the proportion of different types of chefs working in the industry.

"Allied to this, People 1st will examine how businesses recruit for different chefs, how they train and develop existing staff and the extent to which they are finding it difficult to fill vacancies."

The research will also take into consideration the effect of immigration restrictions on hiring chefs from outside of the EU.

Join the pub brigade

The Publican’s Morning Advertiser ​recently published an extensive digital feature​ on the chef recruitment crisis and its implications for the pub sector, featuring exclusive insight and interviews with some of the top operators and chefs in the business.

Want to have your say on the crisis? How has is affected your kitchen? Tweet @morningad or @PMAFood with the hashtag #jointhepubbrigade to get involved in the debate

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