Addressing the hospitality skills shortage

It’s not news that we have a skills shortage in hotels and hospitality as a whole. And with the industry growing the likelihood is the situation will get worse.

And on the other hand we hear of unemployment rising.

In my interview with Bob Cotton last week, as part of my current interview series “How to Give Your Hotel a Competitive Edge” Bob highlighted the importance of recruiting and retaining the best we can.

It’s a challenging environment for managers – ever changing legislation, cultural awareness, a challenging work life balance.

But what are we doing to attract people to the industry?

Last week I attended the Institute of Hospitality Hotel Managers’ Briefing. One of the presenters was from Springboard, the organisation that promotes careers in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sectors in the UK. Here are some of the points I picked up on what we could be doing:

  • Mentor your local school and build relationships with schools and parents who are often reluctant to send their children on work experience or placements in hospitality. Get to know your local catering college and build relationships with staff and students, an opportunities for placements (and part time work)
  • Set up taster placements that have a structure and ensure a good all round experience for placements. In the UK Springboard can support this through Inspire who publish a pack and online format for anything from a one day taster through to university placements (and award the Inspire Kite mark to employers who demonstrate good practice on placements).
  • Think beyond the kitchen – housekeeping has a severe shortage, and less of an appeal to those who have never experienced it; give youngsters a taster of what housekeeping has to offer.

Work placements are an ideal way to build a relationship with schools, colleges and universities, and an opportunity for you to demonstrate what the industry has to offer and what better way to recruit long term and loyal hotel staff. OK, it won’t change things over night, but it’s a start.

I will be holding a tele seminar on Friday 16th when I will be talking about my top five ways to having an engaged and motivated team. Details and to register go here.

Caroline Cooper

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