The chief attractions to working in hospitality are the career prospects, excitement, and the sociable nature of the industry, according to the latest Hospitality Employment Index report.

The report showed that competition for jobs is increasing from 15 applications for every role posted in Q2 of 2010 to 19 in Q2 of 2012.

It also found that Generation Y, 18-34 year olds, were going out twice as often as 35-54 year olds (Generation X), and three times as often as people aged 55 and over (Baby Boomers).

Ian Burke, director, Caterer.com, said that the emergence of this age group in the industry is shaping the way businesses are run.

“Restaurants are the first sector to really use the opportunities provided by this generation and are using new technology such as social media, apps and mobile sites, as well as powerful branding, to engage with this segment. This group is taking the restaurant market through the quieter periods and spending their money eating out.”

The research also revealed that Generation Y is having a large impact on recruitment in the hospitality industry and on restaurants in particular.

Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, was clear that this influential market will play a key role in the future of the industry, especially if employers make an effort to attract and retain young people.

“The trick is to provide those who do make a start in our sector with such a positive experience that they will never want to leave.”

Brian Wisdom, chief executive at People 1st, also believes that businesses need to keep pace with change and to ensure that they meet the needs of this new market.

“The rise of mobile technology has changed recruitment, with 46% of jobseekers using their phones to apply for jobs and 60% of those with a tablet having also done so.

Young people use technology to book tables at restaurants, write reviews, and get recommendations on where to eat - it’s a huge market. Yet almost a third of restaurants do not even have a website, which is proven to show that businesses could be losing up to £31,000 in revenue each year.”

The report also found that while job advertisements have fallen for both managerial and non-managerial roles, staff retention improved considerably throughout the recession. This has made it less necessary to recruit in management, while for other businesses there has been a reluctance to expand staffing levels given the economic climate.

Marcus Weedon, senior recruitment manager at Carluccio’s, said that his business has benefited from this increase in staff retention: “Obviously this is good for business as we would not have to train further people, but invest our time in delivering the tools that they need to succeed in their roles.”