The perception of hospitality as a career choice

With staff shortages rife within the hospitality industry, KAM’s new research shows that only 1-in-5 UK adults consider Hospitality to be an appealing industry to work in. Download the full infographic below.

This new research aims to measure the perception of Hospitality as a potential career choice for UK adults. It found that 23% still view Hospitality as a “short-term stopgap” and only 10% see it as a well-respected career choice.

Generation Z and younger millennials saw a career in Hospitality as more attractive than over 55-year-olds. 28% say it is an appealing industry compared with 11% of the older age group.

Hospitality not seen as a preferred career choice for young

A key issue the research identifies is that younger adults at the beginning of their career are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members into the Hospitality sector. Only 11% of UK adults said they’d be “very pleased” if a younger family member chose Hospitality as a career (26% would be ‘quite pleased’.) Just 12% would actively recommend working in Hospitality as a career.

With A-levels results and GCSE results just in, it’s distressing to think that these young adults are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members and friends to work in our great industry. Only 4% of those between 45-55 years old (the likely age range of these kids’ parents) said they’d be ‘very pleased’ if younger family members chose a career in Hospitality.

“We are without a doubt fighting against a negative perception towards the industry. We know Hospitality offers amazing career opportunities- it’s time we started telling the world. Loudly.” Katy Moses, MD, KAM

A more positive view from hospitality workers

The research found that the view from within the industry was more positive compared with those who had never experienced working within Hospitality. 28% of past or present Hospitality employees said they saw it as an appealing career compared with just 14% of those who have never worked in the sector. Those without experience in the industry were more likely to view it as a “short-term stopgap career”- 27% compared with 19% of past or present Hospitality employees.

It seems that those who have had the chance to work within the industry are much more likely to see its appeal. The general perception however is not as positive: only 18% perceive it to be a fun industry to work in, only 11% think it has good career prospects, only 10% think it would offer a good work/life balance.

“We need to elevate the entire view of the industry to make it a more viable career prospect to avoid the ongoing continuation of this current crisis. Hospitality is fast-paced, exciting and the rewards can be immense- but we need to attract the right people into it!” Katy Moses, MD, KAM

An industry re-brand with Hospitality Rising

The research was carried out in support of a new industry-wide initiative headed up by brand and marketing consultant Mark McCulloch, called Hospitality Rising. Its aim is to bring hospitality companies together to change the long-term perception of the industry as a credible career choice.

“The entire industry needs a re-brand when it comes to its appeal as a career choice. KAM’s research proves that working in Hospitality just isn’t seen as an appealing option by most. The industry needs to act now to address this issue in the long term and the support we’ve already had for Hospitality Rising shows that many operators are ready to work together to do just that.” Mark McCulloch, founder of Supersonic and Hospitality Rising

More positively, the research also found that 1-in-2 UK adults of working age said they would at least consider working in Hospitality if the opportunity arose. While two-thirds of ex-hospitality employees said they would consider returning to the industry in the future.

You can download the full infographic here or email if you’d like access to the full research results. Find out more about Hospitality Rising here.

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Blake Gladman

Hi, I'm Blake, Strategy & Insight Director at KAM. I look after all our research products and manage the collection and delivery of insight throughout KAM. I love long runs and good food (the perfect life balance).