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01 Feb 2022

Why is hospitality seen as an unattractive career choice?

Why is hospitality seen as an unattractive career choice?

According to the latest report from HRC partner KAM Media, Hospitality is not viewed as an attractive career choice for many people, but why is this? And how can we change this negative perception? 


With ongoing staff shortages within the hospitality industry, new research finds that only 1-in-5 UK adults consider Hospitality to be an appealing industry to work in.

The new research from our partner research consultancy KAM aims to measure the perception of Hospitality as a potential career choice for UK adults. It found that 23% still view Hospitality as a “short-term stop gap” and only 10% see it as a well-respected career choice.


Generation Z and younger millennials saw a career in Hospitality as more attractive than over 55-year-olds, with 28% saying it was an appealing industry compared with 11% of the older age group.


KAM says a key issue the research identifies is that younger adults at the beginning of their career are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members into the Hospitality sector. Only 11% of UK adults said they’d be “very pleased” if a younger family member chose Hospitality as a career (26% would be ‘quite pleased’.) Just 12% would actively recommend working in Hospitality as a career.

Katy Moses, MD, KAM: “With A-levels results and GCSE results just in, it’s distressing to find that these young adults are unlikely to be encouraged by older family members and friends to work in our great industry. Only 4% of those between 45-55 years old (the likely age range of these kids’ parents) said they’d be ‘very pleased’ if younger family members chose a career in Hospitality. We are without a doubt fighting against a negative perception towards the industry. We know Hospitality offers amazing career opportunities- it’s time we started telling the world. Loudly.”


KAM found that the view from within the industry was more positive compared with those who had never experienced working within Hospitality. 28% of past or present Hospitality employees said they saw it as an appealing career compared with just 14% of those who have never worked in the sector. Those without experience of the industry were more likely to view it as “short-term stop gap career”- 27% compared with 19% of past or present Hospitality employees.


Katy Moses, MD, KAM: “It seems that those who have had the chance to work within the industry are much more likely to see its appeal. The general perception however is not as positive: only 18% perceive it to be a fun industry to work in, only 11% think it has good career prospects, only 10% think it would offer a good work/life balance. We need to elevate the entire view of the industry to make it a more viable career prospect to avoid ongoing continuation of this current crisis. Hospitality is fast-paced, exciting and the rewards can be immense- but we need to attract the right people into it!”


The research was carried out in support of a new industry wide initiative headed up by brand and marketing consultant Mark McCulloch, called Hospitality Rising. Its aim is to bring hospitality companies together to change the long-term perception of the industry as a credible career choice.


Mark McCulloch, founder of Supersonic and Hospitality Rising: “The entire industry needs a re-brand when it comes to its appeal as a career choice. KAM’s research proves that working in Hospitality just isn’t seen as an appealing option by most. The industry needs to act now to address this issue in the long term and the support we’ve already had for Hospitality Rising shows that many operators are ready to work together to do just that.”

More positively, the research also found that 1-in-2 UK adults of working age said they would at least consider working in Hospitality if the opportunity arose, while two thirds of ex-hospitality employees said they would consider returning to the industry in the future.



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