Employment / 01 February 2017

Recruiting and retaining future talent in your business

As an industry we recognise the challenges of recruiting and retaining staff. Research from employment and skills consultancy People 1st indicates that 1.3 million are needed in hospitality by 2014, but three quarters of these will be replacement staff. Retention is as important as recruitment. Exiting the EU brings many more challenges and an initial assessment of a survey the BBPA carried out of our members shows that some 27 per cent of pub workers are from overseas (23 per cent from the EU) but in kitchen staff, this rises to 40 per cent and in metropolitan areas, it is 40 per cent and above.

In response, the BBPA joined forces with ALMR, BII and People 1st to hold a joint conference last week, inviting all our members to share best practice and look at what more we could all do.

In my introduction, I talked about this being an agenda which is vital to the success of our industry. We face cost increases. The Apprenticeship Levy adds costs, but the fact that we cannot use the money in our wider supply chains, (particularly in leased and tenanted pubs) is an added headache. We have seen increases in the Living and National Minimum Wage, and we also have a business rates revaluation and the auto enrolment of pensions.

The conference began with the Department of Education giving us a presentation on the Apprenticeship Levy and its funding mechanism.

Annette Allmark from People 1st then described how apprenticeships will work in practice. She listed the seven standards available for hospitality and explained the end assessment which must be taken when completed.

This was the main recommendation from Doug Richards a few years ago when he was asked by the Government to compare our qualifications with the rest of the world. A system which offers a ‘pass’ or ‘distinction’ acts as an added incentive, but there is also a requirement to take English and maths assessments. Companies can provide the training themselves, or work with a training providers. The BII has recently been approved as an ‘end’ assessor and People 1st have set up a Hospitality Apprenticeship Board to assist in the development of the right standards for us all. People 1st believes that employing an apprentice can add £5.2k annually to the bottom line.

A very good panel session followed with employers talking about building relationships with schools, how the attention of apprentices can be much better than normal recruits; the opportunities as a young manager to earn £60K and how industry training is not only fun, but allows employees to work almost anywhere in the world. Apprenticeships must be aspirational.

The afternoon heard about trends from People 1st, from the Low Pay Commission and from Catton consultancy. A second panel session talked about working with local schools and colleges, local charities and even the Prison Service to recruit chefs. Retention ideas from bringing chefs together twice a year to share ideas to a fishing trip to catch fish and then cook it. Many are looking at offering more flexibility in working hours.

We face an unprecedented challenge from Brexit, but also a great opportunity. The new industrial strategy offers us possibilities to work as a sector across Government, and training and productivity are an important part of that challenge. A really good day, plenty to think about and good to work with other partners to bring us all together.

Written by

Brigid Simmonds

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