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5 June 2014

Bridging the gap: the importance of professional development for the hospitality industry

On the face of it, the UK hospitality industry looks to be in a strong position; employing 7% of the entire working population, or 1 in every 14 jobs, and in 2011 the sector contributed £40.6bn to the UK economy.

However, when you dive deeper into the figures contained within the People 1st ‘State of the Nation report’, it is clear there is already a skills gap in the industry which is only set to widen in the future. The report itself states that already “21% of hospitality industry employers report skills gaps, compared to only 13% in the overall UK economy”.

Why are there skill gaps?

Skill gaps exist within a business where employers identify that one or more of their staff are not fully capable in their roles and therefore lack the ‘required skills’ to perform effectively and efficiently. This can often be a result of the high rate of staff turnover that the industry has always experienced, even to this day; which results in the need to train new staff to be competent in their position.

To a certain extent, the industries 20% staff turnover rate can be attributed to the organisational structural of the business, i.e. where certain roles only offer part-time employment or temporary contracts. Some would also argue that a lack of progression and promotion in many hospitality roles is responsible for industry staff looking to develop careers in another sector. Either way, high staff turnover will impact on staff capability and lead to skill gaps.

What is the impact of these gaps?

According to the People 1st report, 50% of hospitality employers reported that skills gaps lead to an increased workload for other staff members, 32% believed it made it difficult for them to meet quality standards, and 31% stated that it resulted in increased operating costs.

In an industry like hospitality, where quality and costs are of the utmost importance and staff are already burdened with heavy workloads, these gaps represent a large issue that needs to be addressed and failing to do so could result in huge drops in profitability for some organisations.

What can the industry do to bridge the gap?

In the simplest sense, the best form of combat is to provide adequate training and/or CPD (continuing professional development) options for employees. Training can be provided in a number of different ways, at various levels, and can be performed in-house or outsourced to a professional training company.

The state of the nation report commented that skill gaps are most often found among management positions within hospitality industry and two thirds of employers believe management skills will become even more important in the future, again, reflecting a need to recruit skilled managers or provide adequate training to ensure employees in management positions are proficient in their role.

At arena4finance, we feel strongly that training and professional development is the key to unlocking the potential in all of your employees and in turn ensuring profitability and success for the business. We provide a wide variety of courses for the hospitality industry designed specifically to meet the needs of the developing supervisors through to senior managers wishing to learn more about business finance. To find out how arena4finance can assist with your professional development requirements, please contact Wayne Gosden on 01202 842809 or email