Hospitality and tourism is emerging as one the UK’s fastest growing job creators, according to sector skills council.
Confronting perceptions that the sector offers low skilled employment, research from sector skills council, People 1st, reveals that there are significant opportunities for highly skilled workers with the need for 638,000 additional jobs by 2017 of which 69,000 are managerial posts.
Accounting for one in 15 UK jobs (7.2% of the total working population), the sector is one of the UK’s third largest export earners with an above average growth of 3.5% GVA per year until 2020, according to State of the Nation 2011 – the definitive snapshot of the labour market for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism.
“The hospitality and tourism sector is very buoyant during this time of economic difficulty and the only one that is actively creating new roles and recruiting in large numbers, particularly for highly skilled positions,” said Martin-Christian Kent, director of policy and research at People 1st and co-author of the report. “Given its current and future growth, it’s a fantastic career option for new entrants, those seeking flexible working such as mums returning to work and older workers, as well as those looking to switch careers.”
His views are echoed by Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st: “The sector offers numerous opportunities for people who want to earn and learn, gain experience and a higher education qualification at a time when unemployment is rising and university tuition fees have soared further.”
The report also found that whilst the economic downturn has made it easier to recruit staff, businesses are still struggling to find high calibre managers to fill the highly skilled posts that are being created over the next few years. Increasingly, more employers are turning to apprenticeships as a cost-effective means of recruiting and shaping tomorrow’s talented leaders which ultimately should improve the quality of the hospitality and tourism workforce.
The report also found the size of the workforce has also increased over the past year to 2.1 million, the hospitality and tourism sector is an attractive long-term career option with high levels of employee engagement. Almost two thirds (63%) percent of businesses offer job flexibility, 61% conduct appraisals while 51% offer financial incentives.
The number of apprenticeships within the sector has risen to 23,000 from 19,000 last year.
Despite economic difficulties, productivity has risen across all parts of the sector. Its proportional contribution to the UK’s economy has increased from 4.5% to 4.9%, accounting for £42,248 million.
The gambling industry is by far the most profitable with each employee generating £121.44 per hour worked. Travel services generate £102.74 per hour, followed by pubs, bars and nightclubs at £80.89.
One in four sector businesses report skills gaps particularly customer service and management. More than a third (39%) of employers with skills gaps report that their managers do not possess the required skills – a significant increase of nine percent since 2007.
“The growth and diversity of the sector ensures that it is well-placed to support the Government’s social mobility strategy through programmes such as Employment 1st, developed by People 1st and Jobcentre Plus,” said Kent.
“The programme supports people back into work whilst providing the sector with a new pool of work-ready talent. And to date, over 1000 people have completed the programme and registered on uksp.co.uk which enables sector employers to easily find suitable recruits.”