Young Brits are writing off careers in hospitality

Abigail Fenton
A fifth of young Brits think working in a restaurant would be fun. Photo: Fabrizio Magoni/Unsplash
A fifth of young Brits think working in a restaurant would be fun – but the majority are given no information about entering the hospitality industry. Photo: Fabrizio Magoni/Unsplash

As the talent crisis worsens for industry, a staggering 97% of young Brits have already written off a career in hospitality, new research shows.

A survey of over 2,500 pupils and recent school-leavers by Caterer has revealed negative perceptions about hours and pay, and the influence of parents and schools are directly impacting many’s aspirations to enter the industry.

In fact, the majority (89%) of secondary school pupils have been given them no information about careers in hospitality, while almost a third (30%) of pupils across the UK don’t have access to any food-subject, the results show.

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This lack of information has led to almost half (48%) of Brits aged 18-24 years old viewing hospitality jobs as no more than a “temporary role”, while a further third (35%) believe the industry offers no progression.

And with more than 28,000 new hospitality roles listed Caterer in May – an increase of 36% over two years – young Brits could end up missing on major job opportunities, including entry-level roles and apprenticeships.

The research highlights the vital need to change perceptions and increase education about the wide range of long-term career prospects in the hospitality industry to stop young talent passing it off as a temporary and unambitious career choice.

Nurturing future hospitality stars

Not to be deterred by a lack of encouragement from schools, however, nearly a third (34%) of secondary pupils said a career in hospitality would be an attractive path, while nearly a fifth (18%) thought working in a restaurant would be fun.

But the research revealed a need to bridge the gap between these aspirations and the number of young people entering the industry.

Almost half (44%) of primary and a fifth (17%) of secondary school pupils said food-related subjects are not available to them, despite 82% and 62%, respectively, saying they would one up if they were.

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Despite the high interest in food-related subjects, nine in 10 (89%) secondary school were found to be in the dark about hospitality, having been given no advice about entering the industry from their school or career advisor.

Parents to play a bigger role in encouraging young people to enter the industry

And it’s not just schools and government who need to encourage young people to enter the industry.

Caterer’s research revealed less than a quarter (24%) of parents would encourage their child to pursue a hospitality career, despite the majority (83%) saying it’s important food-related subjects are learnt at school.

This is especially significant as almost a third (29%) of parents with school-aged children believe they have the most influence on their child’s career choices.

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Neil Pattison, director at Caterer, said: “The strong interest that young people have in learning about food, cooking and nutrition, is a fantastic opportunity for the industry, and it’s vital they are engaged at the earliest age.

“We need the government to enhance the way in which hospitality is delivered as a subject in schools to help support these ambitions and ensure the next great industry talents are not lost.

He added: “Alongside this, employers can take matters into their own hands by communicating directly with young people, parents and teachers the full reality of opportunity in the sector.”