The Burnt Chef Project rolled out a hospitality survey to explore issues around staffing within the hospitality sector looking to ascertain why people had left the industry within the last 12 months. The vast majority of the 2,143 UK based respondents (84%) are still working within the industry: 45% of them were chefs and most (75%) had been furloughed during the pandemic.
The survey found that nearly a third of those not currently working within the sector are planning to return within the year, with 10% in the next six months. However, there are challenges the industry faces which are impacting those who work within it and must be addressed before the industry can become a sustainable career choice for many.
Work-life balance is the most frequently mentioned barrier to working in the sector and most commonly cited reason for leaving. Hospitality doesn’t currently come highly recommended with one in five planning on leaving in the next 12 months and around a third (37%) is on the fence.
When asked what changes would improve recruitment and retention in hospitality, the majority said, ”feeling valued’. Unsociable and unpredictable hours – which are inherent in the trade – were a barrier to one in five, whilst salary and stressful working environments were also frequently cited barriers (one third). Only 4% of those asked highlighted job security as a concern.
Not surprisingly, 40% of respondents have struggled with their mental health over the past 12 months, with around 1 in 6 reporting it has been ‘not good’. General Managers are seemingly those finding the pressures impacting their mental health the most with 42% reporting a decline in the overall level of mental well-being since reopening.
Kris Hall, Founder of The Burnt Chef Project said, “We’re seeing it all over the media, and we’re hearing it first-hand in the trade. The industry is facing a severe employment crisis right now, but what our survey has shown is that there is a way out of this.“ Hall mentions training for managers to understand effective communication, performance reviews to encourage and inspire, and mental health awareness training to understand stress and its impact on team members. „We are already working on innovative tools, resources and support services to aid businesses in tackling some of the issues raised from our data,” Hall says.