The hospitality sector needs to do more to promote itself as place that people can build a successful career, according to BrewDog president and COO David McDowall.

Commenting on the issue of staff shortages currently being experienced by some operators, during MCA’s The Conversation, McDowall said: “Hopefully we will find our way through the slight slump that we have now on recruitment. But the broader question for me is how do we really work on the reputation of hospitality as a brilliant place to build a long-term career?”

He said there were so many great stories about people who have built lifelong, valuable, meaningful careers, in the industry, but while he believes the sector offers growth and leadership opportunities, he said it is “sometimes in quite an unstructured way”.

“I think there are some structural questions that we need to answer as a result of the train of thought around working hours, salary and benefits, contractual security and how we really work on those development and growth opportunities,” he added.

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality told listeners that its own surveys have shown that, when approached to return to work, 85% of staff are happy to come back – and of the remaining 15% some are planning to return but may not be in a position to at the moment. But there are others that have taken to the decision to leave the industry.

She said the association had been getting reports back from operators, when they are trying to recruit new staff, or talking to staff about returning from furlough, about “the uncertainty that still hangs over the sector”. “Is this a good bet for a job? Or is the government going to prevent or delay reopening?

“People don’t have the confidence to necessarily see hospitality as a career of choice or to make that step back off furlough or protected income, or to move from another job back into hospitality, until we get that certainty from the government in terms of reopening,” she said.

Nicholls added that UKH was talking to the government about what it could do to promote hospitality as a career of choice.

To listen to this week’s The Conversation in full, click here.

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