The first four months: what effect has the Brexit vote had on hospitality recruitment?

It’s been four months since Britain voted to leave the European Union and although the full implications of this decision won’t be known until after Article 50 is triggered – with prime minister Theresa May recently confirming that this will happen at the end of March 2017, meaning an exit from the UK isn’t likely until mid-2019 – figures so far suggest it isn’t all doom and gloom, especially for the hospitality industry.

The good news

For one thing, unemployment fell by 39,000 (to 1.63 million) between May and July – which suggests that, as yet, the job market hasn’t become a victim of the dreaded ‘Brexit effect’. In fact, the unemployment rate is lower than it was a year ago (4.9% compared to 5.5%), and the future looks similarly bright in the world of the hospitality industry – one of the largest employers in the UK – largely thanks to a surge in visitors to the UK. Figures released by the ONS showed that July was a record month for tourists, with a whopping 3.8 million visiting Britain – that’s a 2% increase on the same time last year – collectively spending £2.5 billion (an increase of 4% on the previous year).

This influx has no doubt been spurred by the fact that, post-Brexit, the pound has fallen to its lowest level for more than 30 years – meaning inbound tourists’ money being worth a great deal more. The result is that since the end of June, international flight bookings to the UK have increased by 7.1%, while bookings from Europe for trips to the UK have increased by 5%.

Given that the prime minister’s recent clarification of the timeline for Brexit resulted in the pound falling to a three-year low against the euro and its lowest level against the dollar since early July, this trend looks set to continue. Visitors are coming from further afield too. Cheapflight claims that searches for journeys to Britain from America have doubled, with further increases of 61% from China and 49% from Canada. This will no doubt spark a sharp recruitment drive in related industries such as hospitality, as tourists flock to hotels, bars and restaurants to make the most of the strength of their currencies against the pound.

Also noteworthy is the positive impact that the UK’s Brexit decision has had on the domestic hotel market. As well as the growing numbers of visitors, 2.5 million Brits are opting for ‘staycations’, as the falling pound makes holidays abroad more expensive. This has meant a double boost for tourism, and looks set to give the industry a record-breaking year – with one of the hottest ever Septembers and low interest rates contributing to a potential hospitality recruitment boom. The Tourism Alliance estimated that spending by Britons on UK holidays has been up by 17% on 2015 so far this year, with British Hospitality Association (BHA) chairman Nic Varney suggesting at this year’s British Hospitality and Tourism Summit that “tourism and leisure can continue to grow under Brexit.”

Things to be wary of… 

It’s worth remembering that while a potential boom in customers is an exciting prospect for businesses; with research indicating that more than 61,000 foodservice and accommodation employers in the UK will lack key skills by 2020, such a dramatic increase in new jobs is likely to expedite this problem and make filling these hard-to-fill roles even more difficult. Furthermore, according to The Migration Observatory’s ‘Migrants in the UK Labour Market’ report from 2014, foreign-born workers made up 43% of those in ‘Food preparation and hospitality’ and 25% of ‘Managers and proprietors in hospitality’. Fewer new European arrivals in the UK would therefore leave a shortfall in the industry that there simply aren’t enough Britons with the right skills to fill. In an article in the Economist in May 2015 it was suggested that, “Some industries, especially those that struggle to replace human labour with technology, would be left foundering without a ready supply of migrant labour.” 

In short, while Brexit may well bring about new opportunities in the hospitality industry, it’s likely to exaggerate an existing issue and make finding (and retaining) individuals with the right skills more important than ever. Our People Awards recognise employers that are tackling this skills shortage with innovation and initiative. Find out more about this year’s winners. People Awards 2016 Winner Profile – Ambassador to the Industry, The Clink Restaurant Company

“The catering industry is currently experiencing a major skills shortage, so highly qualified chefs and waiting staff are extremely sought after,” says Christopher Moore, Chief Executive of The Clink Restaurant Company. “The Clink Charity helps solve both of these issues that, in their own ways, have an impact on society.

Christopher Moore was speaking as The Clink Restaurant Company became the proud winner of the Ambassador to the Industry award at this year’s People Awards. Presented at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge on October 12, the awards celebrated the finest achievements in hospitality recruitment, retention and development.

The prestigious Ambassador to the Industry award seeks to recognise long term success in championing the spirit of the hospitality sector by an individual or a team, and work that nurtures careers and talent. To say that The Clink embodies this award would be an understatement. The Clink’s work in training prison learners and equipping them with the skills and confidence to build careers upon their release, is vital.

Christopher Moore commented, “It is a great honour for The Clink team to have won this prestigious award in recognition of our work.”

The Clink has had enormous success in reducing reoffending rates through accredited City & Guilds NVQ training in food preparation and food service, thus equipping prisoners and ex-offenders with formalised education and valuable soft skills that help them to gain employment upon their release.

The story of The Clink Restaurant Company began in 2009, when the first restaurant opened at HMP High Down in Surrey. The then catering manager, Alberto Crisci, identified the need to provide formal qualifications and support for prisoners that can be utilised in the outside world. Soon after, The Clink opened Bromley Gardens, enabling prisoners to train in horticulture. The gardens also grew three quarters of the vegetables and herbs used in the restaurant. A second restaurant opened at HMP Cardiff in 2013, with HMP Brixton opening the following year. In addition, Click Events provides external catering for parties and receptions.

Since the opening of HMP High Down, The Clink has trained more than 800 prisoners and currently works with up to 160 learners per day. Whether working in the kitchens or gardens, prisoners are gaining valuable work experience but they are also regularly assessed, enabling them to work towards formal qualifications in Food Preparation, Food Service, Food Hygiene and Horticulture.

“Today’s challenge is that there are more than 84,000 adults in prison in the UK and of those released, 46% return to prison within the first year. Also, 47% of prisoners say they have no qualifications, so supporting them to achieve this and increase their self-worth gives them the tools to break the cycle of crime and build a positive future for them and their families.” says Christopher Moore.

All prisoners who train with The Clink now follow a five step programme – Recruit, Train, Support, Employ, Mentor – a process which helps with training and securing employment. Even after release and gaining work, ex-offenders continue to be mentored by The Clink, ensuring rehabilitation is as painless as possible.

The great news is that thanks to The Clink’s efforts, re-offending rates of those involved with the programmes have reduced dramatically, down from 45% to 12.5% within the first year of release. In addition, more than 200 top employers, including Carluccios, Wahacca, The Lancaster London Hotel and Mosimann, are happy to take on The Clink graduates.

To top all of this, the quality of food and service from Clink restaurants has been lauded, with The Daily Telegraph praising waiting staff at HMP Brixton for striking “the right balance between friendliness and professionalism”, and The Standard referring to a chocolate and pear tart as “glorious”.

The Clink Restaurant Company continues to go from strength to strength. Looking toward the future, Christopher Moore says, “The plan moving forward is to continue to grow The Clink concept with the aim of having 20 prisoner training schemes in operation across the UK by 2020. We will be announcing the next three training projects over the next six months, so there are plenty of exciting things coming up.”

Congratulations to The Clink Restaurant Company on their well deserved win of the Ambassador of the Year award at our People Awards 2016.

Untapped gold: how to attract emerging talent

It’s hard to turn on the TV without seeing someone cooking. Whether it’s established chefs showcasing their skills or amateur cooks competing to see whose as yet undiscovered raw talent will win the day, the nation continues to be gripped by the preparation and consumption of food. But looking at the catering business as a whole, it’s clear that this continuous buzz doesn’t equate to enthusiastic new entrants into the industry.

Figures from the Employer Skills Survey 2015, produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), for example, show that 47% of vacancies for chefs are difficult to recruit for – most noticeably in London (66%) and the South East (46%).

While many of the reasons behind this skills shortage remain unclear, it means that the marketplace for businesses trying to find new staff is competitive. And that means that employers should maximise their appeal to the most promising talent.

Employer brand

Attracting and retaining the highest quality candidates is crucial for any business, and employer branding is important in this process. According to recruitment specialist Hinton Spencer: “A strong employer brand is highly attractive to potential candidates, ultimately creating an enticing workplace environment and encouraging them to apply for roles. This is particularly important when considering the ever-shrinking talent pool.”

A strong employer brand suggests to candidates that they will know exactly what the company is like – and that applies to everything, from the company ethos and vision, to its goals and the value it places on its employees. It is important to portray the brand message throughout the recruitment process, ensuring that the process is streamlined and that it lives and breathes the brand values. There are many ways a company can build on these initial concepts – for example, by clearly promoting business and employee success.

The right fit

The People 1st State of the Nation Report 2013 showed that almost two-thirds of difficult-to-fill vacancies in the sector (65%) are because applicants don’t have the skills required. But, increasingly, businesses are finding a way round this by placing an emphasis on the cultural fit between their organisation and a candidate.

When a candidate comes along with all the right qualifications on their CV, there is still more that employers should consider, says business author and specialist Minda Zetlin. “What about the right personality? Ignore cultural fit at your peril, for your new hire likely won’t last long,” she adds.

For businesses to find people who are the right fit for them, job adverts should be clear about the kind of company it is, its ethos and values which make it stand out from the others in the sector. Including a sentence or two that captures the real personality of the company makes it stand out from other recruiters.

Once a company starts to build a team of employees that it can really invest in – and vice versa –  it is more likely to grow organically as a business. This dedication and experience will give it the edge over competitors who are basing their search on those with the requisite qualifications.

Training future stars

While initiatives like Springboard’s FutureChef seek to tackle the skills shortage by encouraging 11 to 16 year-olds to consider a career in the industry, employers can help to plug the skills gap by developing the staff available, right now.

When businesses provide opportunities for employees to upskill, it shows that the organisation is investing in their future and this goes a long way towards improving staff retention. It of course also benefits the company by the fact that the potential an employee demonstrates can be utilised at higher levels or in other parts of the business. The best outcome of upskilling employees is that the company could have its perfect candidate already working for them.

Strong individuals can be ready to leap at any moment – probably to a competitor – so clever organisations can maintain the edge over their competitors by facilitating their employees’ growth potential.

Creating the ambassadors of tomorrow

People often change jobs for new opportunities: a promotion, a change of direction, to work in a different area of the business or relocation. In a sector that has a lot of natural wastage, making sure that outgoing employees are positive about the company they’re leaving is key. The biggest mistake that employers can make is for relationships with former staff to end negatively.

When, though, outgoing employees speak well of their former places of employment they are helping with future recruitment for those companies because everyone they talk to could be a future employee.

Which just goes to prove that building on talent is a sure way forward for successful recruitment.

People like us: hiring for cultural fit


When it comes to your workforce, skills and qualifications are important but cultural fit is the glue that holds an organisation together and it’s a key element to consider when recruiting.

In fact, a recent survey of international employers found that more than 80% of managers said it was a top priority when hiring new staff [Global Human Trends 2015, Deloitte].

Good cultural fit leads to other positive outcomes. Employees who are a good match for your business can experience greater job satisfaction, be more committed to the role and deliver at a high level of productivity, and are more likely to stay with you.

But, like anything worth having, cultural fit isn’t necessarily easy to achieve, with an incredible 87% of organisations citing culture and engagement as one of the top challenges they face [Global Human Trends 2015, Deloitte], largely because a company’s culture is personal to each business; it’s less about policy and more about people. So how exactly do you go about ensuring that you attract, recruit and retain the people who will help bring your company culture to life?

The answer is to introduce them to your culture from the word go. That means showcasing your employer brand or values via your job adverts, as these are some of the first touch point prospective employees will have with you. First impressions count!

So what is your culture?

Management expert and Professor of Psychology Adrian Furnham succinctly defines cultural fit as, “Where there is congruence between the norms and values of the organisation and those of the person”. As it’s often difficult for people to understand the culture of their own businesses, it may be advisable to give yourself a refresher by:

  • Studying the culture: Observe the atmosphere of your place of work and the interactions between colleagues. As important as what’s seen during this process is what’s missing; what important elements (if any) appear to be absent?
  • Culture interviews: While the previous approach is somewhat passive, a more active approach may be to interview employees in small groups. This provides them with an opportunity to deliver feedback directly, as well as an invaluable chance to see how they interact and complement one another.

How to attract candidates that fit your culture

Many companies use job adverts as a one-dimensional laundry list of tasks and qualifications required, without taking the cultural fit of the candidate into consideration. But the job ad is the perfect place to showcase your company values and ‘DNA’, and “speak” directly to the kind of people you want to work with. Equally, candidates want to gain a sense throughout the recruitment process of who you are and what it’s like to work with you.  Keeping cultural fit in mind as you create your job advertising means it will appeal to the most relevant candidates for you in terms of attitude and aptitude. Overall, this will mean more applications from candidates whom you will want to interview – and hopefully hire.

The language of your job advert should reflect the “voice” of your company. If you see your enterprise as dynamic, then use big, bold words and phrases that embody that sense of excitement. If, however, it’s a small family-run outfit, then bringing that sense of warmth and informality to life is essential, as those are your unique selling points. If in doubt, returning to the company’s mission statement is a good place to start; and if the company doesn’t have one yet, then begin by asking yourself (and your teams) – what matters to us? Why do we do what we do here?

Communicating those core values through your job ad will go a long way to letting candidates see who you are and what you might be like to work for.

What to look for in CVs

It can be incredibly hard to ascertain cultural fit from CVs, but there are a few key points to look out for – as well as some red flags…

You can get a good idea of fit by looking at the places that a candidate has previously worked. Is it a well-known organisation? If so, does it have similar values to yours? If it’s not a particularly well-known company, having a look at their website will provide a useful insight into its culture. It’s a good idea to pay close attention to dates, too. A short stint at an organisation with similar values to yours might signal that the candidate didn’t slot in as seamlessly as both parties might have hoped.

As cultural fit is such an individual thing, looking at what candidates have listed as their hobbies and interests may provide a useful insight into what makes them tick – and what they can add to the dynamic of the business. Things to look out for include whether or not they play team sports, take part in charity work and have taken it upon themselves to take courses that deepen their understanding/skills.

Interviewing for cultural fit

Once you’ve shortlisted the candidates that on paper look to have the ingredients you’re looking for, it’s time to get them in to see how they showcase these qualities in person. The following questions/topics should help to determine whether the individual sat across the table (or at the other end of the phone line) has what it takes to fit in with a workplace’s culture:

  • Describe a working environment in which you were most productive and felt most positive.
  • Who was the best teacher or manager you ever had? What characteristics did they have that made them so good at what they did?
  • What would you say your three biggest expectations that you have of a line manager/senior staff?
  • How do you feel about being friends with colleagues?
  • How would you describe your ideal style of working?
  • How would your former colleagues describe their working relationship with you?

Team player?

Teamwork is the fuel in the engine of a business, so finding out about an individual’s ability to work with others is vital. Asking how someone performed as part of a team is probably too vague however you can ask questions that reveal a candidate’s ability to make room for the ideas of others. For example:

  • Describe a working situation in which you had to compromise.
  • How did you go about this?
  • What happened as a result?

While the first challenge will reveal the individual’s openness to new ways of thinking, the last question will showcase their ability to learn lessons based on the input of others.

Handling stress

Emotions are a good indication of an individual’s attitude and values, so being emotional about work isn’t necessarily a sign that someone doesn’t fit into a business’ culture, but how they harness their emotions may do. Whether an interviewee seems nervous or as cool as a cucumber, it’s a good idea to ask them about situations in which they’ve had to handle stress and, more importantly, how they dealt with it.

Questions should include:

  • What’s the most stressful situation you’ve ever had to deal with?
  • What did you do in the face of this situation, and why?
  • What was the outcome of your actions?

Asking this same question of candidates going for the same role will provide a very useful point of comparison in terms of who’ll best fit the environment being hired for.

Scenario-based questions

Scenario-based questions are an effective way to get a rounded idea of how a candidate thinks and provides an opportunity to tailor questions that are based on the culture of your company. Is the business a family-run café that’s particularly busy during morning periods? Ask questions that deal with how they’d deal with a sudden spike in customer numbers and what to do if, say, the coffee machine suddenly doesn’t work. Even if the hypothetical situation they’re questioned on isn’t something they’ve come up against before, the way they go about thinking what they would do in that situation will speak volumes about their intuitiveness and proactivity.

Why this is important

If the candidate’s answers to these questions are in tune with your company’s values, this could equal a dream employee and a loyal brand ambassador. That will make the business a more attractive place to work, which is important because, as a certain Mr Branson once said, it’s important to “create the kind of… workplace that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play.”


To find the right fit for your company search our CV database or advertise a job.

Waiters Day races are here!

Front of house professionals will be racing through London’s Hyde Park and other locations across the UK on Thursday 20th October.

National Waiters Day, led by The Springboard Charity and sponsored by Bunzl, aims to celebrate and showcase the dedication and hard work of front of house roles. Five waiters’ races are taking place across the UK as part of National Waiters Day. The flagship event takes place in London’s Hyde Park, while races are being held at Wivenhoe House (Colchester), Tameside College (Manchester), Linthwaite House (Cumbria) and The Grand (Eastbourne).

Fred Sirieix, General Manager at Galvin at Windows, said: “I am very proud and excited to lead the celebrations for National Waiters Day again on 20th October – it’s a truly wonderful day to celebrate the ocean of career opportunities within the hospitality industry, as well as the hard work of all front of house professionals. There has never been a more exciting time to both join and succeed in this very special industry. If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Anne Pierce, Springboard’s CEO, said: “National Waiters Day was created to showcase the range of roles available in front of house. It’s the ideal opportunity for jobseekers and businesses, with activities ranging from skills challenges to talks, and of course the Waiters Day Race!”

Entry to the race costs a £10 registration fee. The funds raised will help Springboard’s Food & Beverage (FAB) programme in schools, which are designed to encourage students to explore and consider careers in front of house, aligning with the curriculum.

For more information about National Waiters Day, click here.



Hospitality Employers Tackle Skills Shortage with Innovation

Boasting some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the world, the UK Hospitality sector is a global envy. The industry is one of the UK’s biggest employers, providing jobs to seven percent of the working population. Despite unsettled economic times, business continues to be strong, and the demand for skilled staff to sate the ever increasing demand is ongoing.

In this fast paced, ever changing business, companies must work hard to recruit the right people, develop their skills and retain their valuable experience. One of the biggest problems facing hospitality employers is an undoubted skills shortage. The reasons for this are varied, but the impact is absolute. According to recent research, if enough skilled staff are not recruited, the industry could be in crisis by 2020. Companies need to utilise inventive methods to attract the talent they so desperately need.

The finest initiatives in hospitality recruitment, retention and development were applauded on 12th October 2016, at the glittering People Awards. TV’s Stephen Mangan hosted the ceremony at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge which was attended by almost 500 industry professionals. The evening celebrated not just the hospitality industry, but the people within it.

Best practice by employers garners best results and the winners of these prestigious awards demonstrated determination and an understanding of the industry and the people they employ.

Luxury Hotel chain, Jumeirah won two awards, Rewards and Benefits Initiative and HR Team. The judges felt that Jumeirah exemplified the category by placing their employees at the heart of their approach to recruitment. Among their many initiatives, Jumeirah developed training sessions delivered through social media, with the aim of participants acting as ambassadors for the company in order to source potential candidates. In the past year, 13 appointments have been made through this programme, with four at management level.

The Launch Campaign award went to Hotel Gotham in Manchester. As part of the Bespoke Hotels group, this company’s clever use of social media attracted staff that perfectly fit the hotel culture. Hotel Gotham created a series of on-message videos, articulating the sophistication of the brand. The success of this strategy was immediate. They received over 800 applications within 24 hours and all key management positions are still in place a year on from launch.

Durham University’s Catering Department won the award for Leadership in Recruitment, Retention and Development. The department employs over 500 staff across 26 cafes, serving more than 500,000 meals every month. They also adopted a view of ‘Recruit for Personality, Train for Skill’. As part of their new approach, traditional interview techniques were replaced with an energetic ‘speed dating’ style process. Their initiatives were numerous and the work paid off with an increase in successful inductees, a reduction in staff turnover, 82% of induction feedback was scored as ‘Excellent’.

Another People Awards winner was the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. The NT’s In-House Recruitment Team developed a view that focused on diversity and the values of the National Theatre. They actively encouraged applications from those with learning difficulties and geared the entire recruitment process around the individual. They continue to work closely with Action on Disability and the National Theatre have recruited 12 staff through this programme.

Indian Street Food group Dishoom were winners of the Learning and Development category. Dishoom invite staff to participate in a unique week long boot camp in India, which immerses employees in their philosophy of selfless service. 98 members of staff were internally promoted last year after successfully completing training. Staff also become experts in Dishoom’s food culture, improving the customer experience, with guest feedback scores at between 91 and 94%.

The climax of the glamorous People Awards ceremony was the presentation of the Ambassador to the Industry Award to the team at The Clink Restaurant Company. Started in 2009, The Clink trains up to 160 prison learners per day and successfully builds confidence and communication and team working skills, helping offenders find employment upon release. With a comprehensive support and mentorship programme, results are clear; over 200 employers now feel confident in employing their graduates,  reoffending rates of those who have been part of the training programme has dramatically reduced within one year of release. This is a landmark achievement, not just for The Clink but also for the industry as a whole.

These amazing initiatives are testament to the dedication that hospitality employers have to their businesses and importantly, their staff. People Awards are the perfect opportunity for employers to not only celebrate their teams and their hard work but to share with each other what they have learned, enabling this amazing industry to grow.

The 2016 People Awards wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable help of its sponsors Fresh Montgomery, Admiral Recruitment, Cingo Video Interviewing, The Great Hospitality Show 2017, Part & Company, Core Recruitment,, Poda, HR in Hospitality and Nicholas Jon Recruitment.

To recruit the hospitality staff you need visit

To find out more about the awards contact or click here. People Awards 2016 Winners Announced

Last night, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge played host to the hospitality employers industry event of the year, the 2016 People Awards. Hosted by TV’s Stephen Mangan, the ceremony, attended by almost 500 hospitality professionals, celebrated the very finest programmes and initiatives in hospitality recruitment, retention and development.

It was an exciting night for the shortlisted employers and the 12 winners who ended up walking away with these prestigious awards. Winners included Firmdale Hotels, Dishoom, Byron Hamburgers, Jumeirah London and National Theatre.

Neil Pattison, Sales Director for said, “It has been a truly wonderful evening for the hospitality industry. In our sector, recruiting and retaining staff will always be a challenge but the winners in all of our categories demonstrated an ingenuity and invention, not only in finding new ways to recruit, but in developing talent and skills and creating a workforce that is valued. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

Our People Awards wouldn’t have been possible without the invaluable help of our sponsors and we would like to take this opportunity to thank Fresh Montgomery, Admiral Recruitment, Cingo Video Interviewing, The Great Hospitality Show 2017, Part & Company, Core Recruitment,, Poda, HR in Hospitality and NicholasJon Recruitment.

To recruit the hospitality staff you need visit

To find out more about the awards contact or click here. People Awards 2016

Winners in full

Candidate Experience

Firmdale Hotels

Employee Engagement Programme

Byron Hamburgers

Emerging Talent Initiative

Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 

Learning & Development


Employer Brand Campaign

Byron Hamburgers

On-Boarding Programme

National Theatre

Rewards & Benefits Initiative

Jumeirah London

Launch Campaign

Bespoke Hotels Hotel Gotham

HR Team

Jumeirah London 

In-House Recruitment Team

National Theatre

Leadership in Recruitment, Retention & Development

Durham University Catering Department

Ambassador to the Industry

The Clink Restaurant Company


As a hospitality employer, giving opportunities to young people should be part of your DNA, says

The challenges of youth unemployment are well known.   Businesses often claim the talent pool is inadequate to support their needs.  They cite lack of skills, inappropriate qualifications and unrealistic expectations from young people.  Talk of a ‘lost generation’ has been doing the rounds for more than a decade.  What’s more, although youth unemployment is down 96,000 compared to a year ago, there are still 621,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds.*

The hospitality industry has been quick to tackle head-on the challenges of youth unemployment.  As an industry founded on young people, it’s perhaps an obvious sector to embrace and nourish people starting out.  What’s more, it’s not afraid to embrace young people as ambassadors.  Dr Anne Pierce MBE, Chief Executive of the Springboard Charity explains:  “Our Springboard Ambassadors programme focuses on the fact that 16-24 year olds are most inspired by talking to other young people already working in the industry.”

Speaking at the 42nd Big Hospitality Conversation (BHC) at City Hall, London, Pierce’s charity Springboard collaborates with the British Hospitality Association, Government, Job Centre Plus, the Department of Work & Pensions and Believe in Young People to aid the growth of the hospitality industry in jobs, exports and, notably, prospects for young people.

At the heart of the BHC is the intention of Inspiring the Next Generation and creating entry to the workplace.  To date, the BHC has achieved 67,000 new career starts for 16-24 year olds, including investment, training and job opportunities.

Speaking at the event, British Hospitality Association CEO, Ufi Ibrahim, CEO said:  “There are very few industries where you can genuinely start as a pot washer and end up as CEO of a FTSE100 company, an entrepreneur or business owner.  Yet in hospitality anything is possible.”

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor for Business for London agrees:  “Hospitality is one of the greatest, fastest growing sectors in London.  Hospitality offers employees social mobility – they can move quickly.  And fast.  Hospitality opens so many doors and opportunities.”  He concludes:  “We need to keep investing in the skills of our young people.  It should be high on the agenda for all of us.”

Reaching out to young people, it seems, is a skill the hospitality industry has cracked.  Employers are embracing a range of approaches to tap into this particular talent pool.  What lessons can other sectors learn from this buoyant industry?

  • Hospitality employers support young people by offering a wide and varied range of work placements, apprenticeships and on-the-job-training
  • Increasingly there’s more of a focus on the value of behaviours and skills over academic achievement in this sector
  • Vocational routes are increasingly offered to young school leavers in place of academic qualifications
  • An emerging and buoyant voluntary-work initiative helps to equip young people with the skills they need to enter the work place
  • Young people act as ambassadors to attract other young people into the sector.  Peer-to-peer engagement is key
  • Initiatives like the BHC open up face-to-face networking opportunities which target young people from all backgrounds

Speaking at the BHC event, 17 year old Sebastian Finsburgh is a case in point.  His two-week careers-fair work placement has led to a permanent Saturday job.  An aspiring chef who plans to own a vegan take-out restaurant, Seb has some sound advice for employers considering offering apprenticeships:  “Work experience is a good way to get your company name out there because me and my friends talk about it all the time.  Offering work experience or an apprenticeship is basically free advertising for companies, especially ones who aren’t that well known.”

Meanwhile, Jon Yates, Director & Co Founder of The Challenge sees volunteering as a pathway to employment.  His company seeks to build networks and connections between young people and businesses:  “We give young people a head start, offering them hands-on experience on a voluntary basis, and in return for just 16 hours of voluntary work we guarantee them an interview for a paid part-time job.  We work with some of the biggest names in the business, and Starbucks is one of our major partners.”

Lisa Robbins from Starbucks HR team concurs: “HeadStart opens up opportunities for young people starting out.  It trains them to a competent and confident level in the workplace so they are equipped to get paid employment.”

The routes to young people securing practical, hands-on experience are seemingly plentiful in the hospitality sector, including volunteering, apprenticeships, FutureChef, adult work placement opportunities, undergraduate student placements and apprenticeships, 12 week traineeships at Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and vocational qualifications.  It’s clear that this sector is tackling head-on the challenge of youth unemployment.

The mood at City Hall’s Big Hospitality Conversation was optimistic.  In fact, speaking to young jobseekers, employers and BHC partners at the event, the word on everyone’s lips  was ‘opportunity’ – opportunity to meet potential employers, opportunity to get an apprenticeship, opportunity to inspire the next generation.

The final word goes to Simon Boyle, owner of Brigade Restaurant and founder of Beyond Food.  A culinary ambassador, Simon passionately believes that food can be used to help and support people.  His message to businesses s is simple:  “Inspiring and giving young people opportunity should be part of your DNA as a hospitality employer.”

*(source published September 14th 2016) People Awards 2016, sponsored by….

There’s now less than a week to go before the glamorous People Awards 2016 and the excitement has well and truly taken hold. Next Wednesday evening, the finest initiatives in hospitality recruitment, retention and development will be rewarded at The Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge at what promises to be a spectacular event.

TV’s Stephen Mangan will host the ceremony as we discover just who will walk away with those coveted awards. Of course, an event such as this could not possibly take place without the support of our sponsors and we are extremely grateful to each and every one of them.

The Candidate Experience category is sponsored by Cingo Video Interviewing.  Cingo Video Interviewing is a new online recruitment platform, allowing employers to interview prospective candidates remotely.

Employee Engagement Programme is sponsored by Catering in Scotland, Scotland’s number one website and magazine, covering the catering, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors.

Sponsoring the Emerging Talent Initiative category is NicholasJon Recruitment, who in eight short years have become a high-calibre leader in hospitality recruitment.

Sponsoring our Learning & Development category is PODA. PODA is one of the first organisations to specialise in coaching development and HR Management as an alternative to traditional management training. They offer cross-industry experience as well as personal development training.

The Employer Brand Campaign and HR Team categories, are sponsored by Admiral Recruitment. Offering a bespoke service and a range of positions from front of house right through to management roles, for 20 years, Admiral Recruitment has forged a respected path in hospitality recruitment.

The On-Boarding Programme category is sponsored by Core Recruitment. Offering a talent pool of over 220,000 candidates and consultants who are world experts in hospitality recruitment, Core Recruitment prides itself on its guiding principles of transparency, efficiency and integrity.

Sponsors of the Rewards & Benefits Initiative category, HR in Hospitality, provide a specialist forum, and are the leading voice for Human Resources professionals within the hospitality industry.

The Launch Campaign category is sponsored by Totaljobs. Used by companies large and small, Totaljobs is one of the UK’s leading jobs boards and attracts around 6 million jobseekers every month. It features more than 110,000 live job ads at any one time and generates over 2 million applications a month.

Sponsoring the In-House Recruitment Team category and our live Twitter Wall on the evening will be Part & Company. Part & Company supply staff across all disciplines, worldwide. They relish enabling employers to make the best choices for their business, whilst allowing candidates to make the best decisions for their careers.

Fresh Montgomery is the sponsor of the Ambassador to the Industry award. With over 120 years of experience, Fresh Montgomery are leaders in hospitality industry events that include The Speciality & Fine Food Fair, The Speciality Chocolate Fair and Careers in Hospitality. They are also organisers of The Great Hospitality Show 2017, which acts as sponsor of our Leadership in Recruitment, Retention & Development category.

Thank you to all of our sponsors for their invaluable support of this amazing event. We look forward seeing you next Wednesday evening to celebrate the many incredible achievements of our shortlisted employers.



The winners of the 21st Annual HR in Hospitality Awards were announced on Friday 30th September at the glamorous Jumeirah Carlton Tower London Hotel, hosted by Esther O’Halloran, Chair of HR in Hospitality. Congratulations to all the winners.

All finalists should be extremely proud of their achievements and the contribution they make in our sector. The awards night was sponsored by DLA Piper LLP, Davidson Asset Management,, Fourth, Core Recruitment, ZFL Training limited and EOH Business Solutions. We are always proud to continue our charity partnership with Springboard UK Charity and Hospitality Action and we raised over £4000 on the night. We could never achieve such a wonderful evening without our supporters, CIPD, Smile Photography, InSync AV and Cambridge Printing Solutions. Over £4,300 was raised on the night for the HR in hospitality’s chosen charities of Hospitality Action and Springboard UK – two charities that work tirelessly for the industry and its people. 

There were 8 awards on the night given to individuals and teams in recognition of the excellent work they do. Amongst the Judges for the awards were; Julia Tybura, Zenon Consulting, Richard Goldsborough CIPD, Adele Oxberry, Umbrella Training, Eugenio Pirri Dorchester Collection, Fiona Rassell, Storm training, Penny Moore, Hospitality Action and Jo Harley PurpleCubed.

The HR Rising Star award sponsored by and supported by the CIPD, went this year to Harriette Wolff at the Lancaster London, whom the judges felt was driven to deliver, not afraid to challenge and passionate about HR. Harriette was awarded a £2000 scholarship towards her professional development generously donated by as part of her award. We also had a Highly Commended in this category to Holly Dixon at the London EDITION hotel and she will receive a £1000 scholarship for her CPD.

HR Team of the Year sponsored by DLA Piper was awarded to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel where it was clear to see tactical measures linked to organisation improvement alongside strong branding throughout. Itsu were also Highly Commended in this category and were able to tackle solutions from a strategic perspective. achieved great impact by involving that in this organisation people are truly a key focus.

Innovative Recruitment sponsored by Core Recruitment was awarded to Hilton Worldwide who included tangible financial results in what the judge’s felt was a sophisticated entry. Employee Engagement sponsored by Fourth was awarded to Firmdale Hotels, where they ensure their people are engaged throughout their entire employee journey.  

For the second year of this category Embedding Company Culture, sponsored by Davidson Asset Management, was awarded to PPHE Group, the judges felt that Park Plaza hotels really went out of their way to make connections between values and growth potential. Building Capability sponsored by ZFL Limited, continues to focus on the learning and development that happens in an organisation and this year was awarded to Jumeirah London. The judges felt they had a different approach and way of thinking and efforts to improve were very well evidenced.

We actively work with other organisations to promote career in the hospitality sector and the award for Promoting Careers in the industry, sponsored by EOH Business Solutions was awarded to The Dorchester Hotel. This organisation constantly looks at new ways to encourage people to enter the industry, they do not rely on the power of their brand name and they get involved and make a difference. We also had a Highly Commended in this category for PPHE Group who have created a sustainable programme through their You:niversity initiative.

During the evening a special award is also given to a line manager who is not necessarily in HR and this is the Tom Crowley Award. A beautiful bronze statue is given to the winner of this individual award as chosen by the judges was given to Armand Sablon at Café Royal, he promotes recognition in the workplace, takes time to celebrate success with his team, hs team will go that extra mile for him.

It was a truly inspirational evening to celebrate 21 years of recognising excellence in HR in the industry. The HR in hospitality committee would like to extend its congratulations to all its worthy winners, highly commended and shortlisted organisations, thanks to everyone who attended the evening and a huge gratitude of thanks too, to all our sponsors and supporters. 

If you require further information please contact Esther O’Halloran on 07957 313477 or email

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