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UK – Hospitality sector reports job growth in 2013

06 March 2014

The number of hospitality jobs in the UK grew, year-on-year, by +8% during 2013, according to job board Caterer.com, with 120,956 jobs advertised on the site from hospitality employers in 2013. In Q4 2013 there was an increase of +16%, compared with the same quarter last year.

Applications per job fell by -5% during 2013, and by -26%, quarter-on-quarter. While this could mean fewer people are applying for each role, it could also imply that candidates are becoming increasingly selective in their job hunt as they have more options available to them.

The upward trend has continued into 2014, with 12,000 jobs from hospitality employers currently advertised on Caterer.com, across a range of sectors, from foodservice and pubs to hotels and restaurants, highlighting the need for employers to continue attracting new talent into the industry.

Ian Burke, Website Director of Caterer.com, said: “As we continue to move away from high levels of unemployment and towards greater levels of economic growth, it’s going to be an exciting time for the hospitality industry. While it may present challenges for hospitality employers, it also provides us all with a real opportunity to place hospitality firmly on the talent map, something that many businesses have already come some way in doing.”

“It’s a chance to attract more talented people into the industry, and show them the opportunities available for long term career growth. If the industry misses this trick, it will be faced with an ever growing talent gap, and a skills shortage which could seriously hamper the industry’s growth prospects,” Mr Burke added.

Within the hotel sector, Scotland in particular is experiencing a huge growth, where the number of jobs increased by +20% compared with the past year. Applications per job were also high, suggesting a positive recruitment drive in the Scottish hotel industry.

Meanwhile the hotel sector as a whole is experiencing huge diversification through the continued growth in budget hotels, the rise of boutique brands, and the new challenge of apart hotels (a services apartment complex that uses a hotel-like booking system). This has led to increasing pressures on the industry and therefore on individual companies’ talent strategies. Hotels are responding by building strong employer brand identities, with talent becoming central to their customer offering.

Scotland is also experiencing a growth in foodservice, with job adverts up +22% compared with last year. The South East, East and Wales have also experienced increased recruitment activity, while jobs advertised in London fell by as much as -14%; perhaps as big businesses move from the expensive cost of London office space towards cheaper regional hubs.

Entry level roles in foodservice, such as catering assistants and general assistants have increased compared with last year. Meanwhile there is a greater demand for specialist skills, with the role of ‘chef’ growing by +2.6% - a move away from the ‘cook’ that traditionally might have made up the foodservice sector.

Commenting on the hospitality industry as a whole, Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “The hospitality and tourism industry has made great strides over the past few years, both in generating jobs and economic growth and in terms of making political capital.  The Olympic Legacy has elevated our sector in the minds of politicians, and industry leaders understand the benefits of working together, sharing a vision and progressing collectively, with a unified voice, towards our end goal.  The British Hospitality Association is extremely positive about the medium and longer term prospects for our industry and our resilience and buoyancy during the economic downturn bodes well for our continued success in more positive economic times.”

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