I read the recent study on Generation Z conducted by BBC Newsbeat. Having kids myself of gen Z and thinking of the recruitment challenges within the hospitality sector I was interested. I think this is a great generation, one of real promise, often misunderstood. The report showed that this gen z wants to learn, to be educated but they also want to feel supported and recognised. They want to feel satisfied in their work but they also want freedom to enjoy time off. Well fill your boots because Hospitality can help. It’s a flexible environment and can be as rewarding as any other profession, if not more so, and it offers real opportunities to travel the world, if that’s what you want.
At a recent HBAA Business Leaders Forum we actively debated the issue of Recruitment within our sector and the looming effects of Brexit on this very issue. It’s already hard going, for many reasons; low starting pay, lack of career visibility, transient workforce and most disappointingly the poor profile of hospitality as a profession. To Mum’s and Dad’s with a dream for their off-spring, generally hospitality is seen as a bit of cop out, for people not very clever, or for those that like “working with people”. We want them to be Doctors, lawyers, Architects, Accountants. We want our kids to have a great income, security, financial independence and to be happy in their work – they are going to do it for a long time.
The great shame and frustration for me is that Hospitality offers all those things and more. It’s a fun environment to work, no day is ever the same. You can work in finance, property, marketing, catering and operations. Most venues will offer those that are committed a clear career progression, we want, no we need, hardworking committed people to take our business forward and for that we pay well.
So what’s the issue? Well it’s partly our fault. We haven’t done ourselves any favours; we refer to our own workers as “unskilled” … damn it they are skilled, skilled bar workers (and that’s a tough job done well), skilled F&B workers, skilled front of house. We demand more from these roles than ever before, customer engagement, brand ambassadors, creativity and use of tech.
Neither have we elevated ourselves as a sector worth millions to the UK economy and billions globally. We seem to accept our place and to be down trod? We need to do more, with youngsters at schools, colleges and uni’s. We need to allow this new generation to feel the vibe and get whiff of the opportunities it offers.
I learned from the BBC study that of the last 4 generations gen Z is the most optimistic about the future but they crave guidance. They perceive themselves as innovative not lazy. They value learning and family. Yes they communicate differently to the older generations and have different life goals and aspirations but I am up for wrapping my arms around these young people and saying “lets go” ! I want to see what they can do, where they can go in life and encourage them to be all they want to be.
HBAA Venue Chair
Director of Marketing, Wyboston Lakes