Young people can provide the talent hospitality employers need right now…and they are already judging you as a potential employer!

Last week, 80 hospitality employers and recruiters from all sectors attended an employer event hosted by leading hospitality recruitment website, Caterer.com. The event focused on the future talent needs of the sector and encouraged hospitality employers to engage with the huge talent pool of young people in the UK to meet those needs. Speakers, including employers Mitchells & Butlers and Nestle, gave direct examples of how they have successfully engaged with young people and are now reaping the benefits of lower turnover and higher engagement levels.

The breakfast session, held on 3rd April at the Charlotte Street Hotel, included delegates from Jumeriah Group, Nobu, Ascot, Park Plaza Hotels, Jamie Oliver Group, Marston’s Gordon Ramsay Group, The London Edition and Compass.

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Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of The British Hospitality Association opened the event, comparing the ongoing creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs in hospitality to the current youth unemployment figure of almost 1 million. Ufi urged each employer to offer young people apprenticeships and help meet the sector’s ever growing need for candidates. This sentiment was echoed later in the session by Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard, who outlined how youth engagement schemes benefit employers and young job seekers alike, feeding great new talent into the sector.

Darren Goodenough, Educations & Skills Manager at Mitchells & Butlers explained how they have provided their own solution to the skills shortage through their apprenticeship scheme, working closely with schools to feed candidates into their business across the UK. This has allowed Darren to develop a pool of potential talent before the recruitment process has even begun and also means he recruits young people with the skills and behaviours required. The results for the business include higher retention rates, higher engagement scores and lower recruitment costs – an appealing prospect for any employer.

Fiona Miller, Academy Manager from Nestle outlined how the Nestle Academy was developed to develop a strong talent pipeline for their business, tackle high staff turnover at entry level and address the poor reputation the food and drinks sector had as an employer of young people. The success of the Academy has meant a more developed talent pipeline, better diversity in the business and a higher employee engagement score for Nestle.

Tom Debenham, Managing Director of employee engagement experts People Insight, closed the event with a look at the characteristics of young people and millenials in particular, suggesting that employers should consciously adjust their approach to engage them. In particular, Tom illustrated how young candidates share information online and that this includes their opinion of employers. Employer reputation is extremely important, particularly to millenials and now any potential candidate can see online how prospective employers are rated through sites such as Glassdoor. As part of their work to develop their employer brand reputation, Tom encouraged employers to enter the Caterer.com Best Employers in Hospitality Awards which are free to enter and are judged by employee responses alone.

The common theme across the event was that a significant part of the hospitality industry’s huge need for candidates could be met by engaging with young people. For employers who adjust their approach to reach out to them, the benefits in terms of talent pipelines, lower turnover, high engagement scores and lower related costs will be considerable.

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