Where has all the Talent gone?

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses how the hospitality industry needs to have a clear recruitment and retention strategy..

The last year has been a roller coaster ride for politics in the UK. With the result of Brexit, a new Prime Minister, Article 50 being triggered and now a General Election, where will it all lead to?

At the moment all we have had is uncertainty and in such a climate like rats running from a sinking ship, people move on quickly. Unfortunately for hospitality those people are our staff. This shortage of labour is already being felt in our hotels and restaurants. Until a clear vision is given of how Brexit will affect immigration and employment, this will only get worse before it gets better.

In a recent article in The Observer (25 March 2017) statistics taken from Mercer Workforce Monitor show the Accommodation and Food Services sector as having the highest percentage of EU workforce employees. We have a heavy reliance on overseas workers with 33% being non UK nationals.

In Hotel and Restaurants the total workers amount to 1.9 million. 1.3 million are UK born, 265,000 are EU born and 369,000 are non EU born.

We need to be more prepared for replacing the talent that we will no doubt be losing. Recruitment has never been easy in hospitality and it is set to get a whole lot harder. There are two solutions to this:

1) Develop home grown talent
2) Use artificial intelligence and humanoids

These two ideas may be at opposite ends of the spectrum. They are a reality and even though they will take time to implement, both will be needed to work together.

The new Hospitality Apprenticeship Standards is the first step to encourage the development of home grown talent and to promote the hospitality industry.

What employers need to remember is that Apprentices can be of any age and can be working in a variety of jobs from Commis Chef through to a Hotel Manager. We need to be developing this talent now, in order to recruit and retain the best staff.

The automation of processes will streamline the workforce. The self-check in kiosks and the use of smart phone technology to open doors and pay bills is just the start. Hilton’s robotic concierge Connie uses cognitive computing to learn and answer questions about her hotel. She is a robot that learns with each interaction. The use of artificial intelligence and humanoids (robots that look like humans) is already being used in a hotel in Japan.

The hospitality industry has to wake up and act now. Otherwise there will be more hotel closures than hotel openings.

About Monica Or: As the founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy, Monica specialises in working operationally with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants focusing on their business structure and service delivery. She is the Amazon Best Selling author of ‘Star Quality Hospitality – The Key to a Successful Hospitality Business’ and ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’
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