Hospitality industry needs to invest in managing graduate talent, says academic

Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:07:00 GMT

The hospitality sector is facing a significant challenge from employee skills shortages as consumers increasingly look for experience-led services, a leading expert has warned.  

Dr Bernadette Scott, senior lecturer in the Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Caledonian University, issued the warning as she addressed The University Caterers Organisation’s 2017 Winter Conference last week on graduate recruitment and retention, a key issue for the hospitality sector.

Dr Scott said: “With 500,000 jobs to be created over the next five years in the UK, the skills crisis will impact heavily on the industry, creating skills gaps and skills deficits in an era when consumers want experience as opposed to just service. 

“Employee turnover in some sectors of the industry is as much as 70%, which is almost 30% higher than an average for all private-sector employees. The industry generates one tenth of the UK’s economic wealth, but has major challenges finding and keeping the right recruits.

“Increasing the number of graduate talent is urgently needed to feed the pipelines for senior and specialist positions in this important industry.”

She added that staff shortages in 2017 have been a major concern for 47% of hospitality businesses in the UK.

“My research is calling for the industry to invest substantially in managing graduate talent that will bring with it the knowledge, skills and attributes to help professionalise an industry which is the fourth largest employer in Britain.” 

The international event took place on Wednesday, December 6, at the University of Strathclyde and saw leading experts and delegates meet to network and offer practical insight.