Here’s why young Brits don’t want to work in hospitality

A career in hospitality leads to a reputable path with many avenues. But why are young Brits turning away from hospitality?

To answer this question, the folks at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) conducted a survey which included 1,000 young Brits aged 16 to 21, and it revealed that 26% of them don’t see hospitality as an industry to work in after obtaining a degree.

Elaine Grell, vice president of human resources, Europe and Global Functions at IHG said: “These results highlight just how important it is that young people get a real life, on-the-job experience, so they can fully understand how varied and exciting a career in hospitality can be.”

What’s turning them away?

One in five respondents (19%) admitted they were unaware of the full range of roles available in the hospitality industry. It’s a misconception that being in hospitality limits one’s career to working in hotels and restaurants. But the truth is – a career in hospitality could lead to roles in design, engineering, finance, HR, law, etc.

Their views are quite ironic because most of them are looking for flexible hours (40%), career progression (36%), and ability to travel (29%) – all of which are key features of a career in hospitality.

Another misconception is that more than a quarter (26%) of them thought that working in a hotel mainly entailed dealing with difficult guests.

And finally, the results also showed that young people were highly influenced by their parents. Almost half of them (42%) admitted their job choices reflects their parents’ perceptions of certain industries.

Grell added: “A hotel is a complex business with responsibility for a large team and big budgets. Yet a lot of people make assumptions based on what they may see as they only see from a guest’s perspective. Initiatives such as the National Hotel Takeover are so important in giving young people a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in a business where the doors are open 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s also a great industry for career progression – our Global CEO Keith Barr started in a restaurant kitchen!”

IHG’s National Hotel Takeover

Elaine Grell
A couple of students from the National Hotel Takeover programme currently training with IHG

The research corresponds with the launch of IHG’s National Hotel Takeover, whereby 1,000 hospitality students will assist in the running of 30 IHG hotels across the country.

Running for 18 years, the Hotel Takeover has grown to become a key moment for IHG properties in the UK, providing valuable on-the-job training for the next generation of hoteliers.

James Ashall, programme director, Movement to Work said: “Today’s research from IHG highlights the gap that needs to be bridged by employers to reduce youth unemployment. There is more we should be doing to highlight the array of jobs available and the progress of those jobs into fulfilling careers. There are too many young people who fall into the seemingly endless circle of ‘no experience no job; no job no experience’, for a multitude of reasons, as employers through work placements we can provide the opportunities to help them gain confidence, break this cycle and fulfil their potential.”

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