UKH announces workforce strategy

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Fixing the crisis: UKH release workforce strategy to boost recruitment and training in the sector (Pictured: UKH CEO Kate Nicholls)
Fixing the crisis: UKH release workforce strategy to boost recruitment and training in the sector (Pictured: UKH CEO Kate Nicholls)

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UKHospitality (UKH) has announced the launch of a nationwide workforce strategy, Fixing the crisis: a framework for collaborative action across the sector, tasked with nurturing cooperation between industry stakeholders and boosting recruitment and training for a new generation of hospitality staff.

The trade bodies new strategy examines all aspects of the industry’s labour​ needs, including recruitment, skills and training, people’s working lives, hospitality’s image as a sector in which to work and the infrastructure to support our employees in a bid to plug the sectors 170,000 job vacancies.

In her foreword, UKH​ CEO Kate Nicholls said: “This strategy sets out a vision to ensure [hospitality is] fully resourced with people with the right skills, a clear talent pipeline with established routes of progression and high levels of employee wellbeing.

“It is based on a partnership approach with industry bodies and governments.”

Announced at an industry event at Westminster Kingsway College, London, on Tuesday 31 May, the strategy comes as hospitality’s post-pandemic recovery contends with increased raw goods costs, huge energy bill rises, business rates, VAT back to 20%, plus a dip in consumer confidence due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Ambition to upskill 

Furthermore, the sector has seen its employment crisis worsen with data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) having shown job vacancies have recently exceeded unemployment for the first time.

Designed to work alongside and support the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board where appropriate, at the core of the UK-wide strategy is “an ambition to upskill our workforce and create high-quality, high-skilled roles, promoting social mobility”, helping the nation in levelling up​.

Five key areas the strategy focuses on:
  • Recruitment: hospitality must be able to access a wide range of people to fill its vacancies
  • Skills and training: hospitality is a professional sector that must enshrine high standards and facilitate social mobility
  • Working lives: hospitality must make people’s working lives enjoyable and fulfilling
  • Image of the sector: to reset perceptions of the hospitality sector as a great place to work and develop your career
  • Infrastructure: to ensure that there are no structural barriers to working in the sector – such as poor transport and a lack of housing

Within these areas the strategy examines critical issues such as professional standards, pay, the working environment, equality and diversity, future demand, and digital connectivity.

Immediate next steps include delivering on the objectives of the strategy, engaging with industry and local partners, developing action plans for each measure, and a big, bold recruitment campaign.

Nicholls’ foreword added: “It is no exaggeration to say people make hospitality. Along with the setting, they provide the unique experiences that people crave.

“Without the great people who create these environments there would be no hospitality sector​.

Great opportunities 

“It is therefore critical that sector businesses are able to cultivate a skilled and dynamic workforce.

“Hospitality offers a wide range of roles with different skill sets. It provides entry-level to managerial to corporate jobs. People will find great training opportunities and meritocratic career progression.

“A booming hospitality workforce will create a fantastic hospitality experience for all, and a better society. It’s crucial we work collaboratively to deliver on this workforce strategy.

It will create economic growth and help to regenerate communities in all parts of the country.

“Higher employment rates and business levels will generate even further taxation from hospitality to fund and bolster local and national public services. It will also contribute to the UK being a leading tourist destination.”

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