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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.

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