UK: The Burnt Chef Project rolled out a survey in June which revealed that a third of hospitality employees not currently working are planning to return within the year, and 10 per cent in the next six months.
The vast majority of the 2,311 UK based respondents (84 per cent) are still working within the industry: 45 per cent were chefs, and 75 per cent had been furloughed.
Work-life balance was cited most as a barrier to working in the sector, and most commonly noted as the reason for leaving. Unsociable and unpredictable hours were a barrier to one in five, whilst salary and stressful working environments were also cited as a barrier amongst one-third of respondents.
One in five reported they are planning on leaving in the next 12 months, and 37 per cent feel on the fence. The majority said that “feeling valued” would help to improve recruitment and retention in hospitality.
Kris Hall, founder of The Burnt Chef Project said: “We’re seeing it all over the media, and we’re hearing it first-hand in the trade. The industry is facing a severe employment crisis right now, but what our survey has shown is that there is a way out of this. Hospitality 2.0 if you like, whereby we support our employees and give them a sustainable career choice. There are achievable, mid-term solutions which can be implemented within the workplace to put the industry on the path to success. Training for managers to understand effective communication, performance reviews to encourage and inspire, and mental health awareness training to understand stress and its impact on team members.
“Yes, we’re facing a challenge, but we’re also faced with a huge opportunity to make a better environment within the industry. The impact of Covid-19 has been detrimental to the industry, but now is the time to knuckle down and invest in the business and primarily the people who are working in it. We are already working on innovative tools, resources and support services to aid businesses in tackling some of the issues raised from our data.”
40 per cent of those surveyed reported struggling with their mental health over the past 12 months. 42 per cent of general managers reported a decline in the overall level of mental wellbeing since reopening.
60 per cent of individuals however said that they feel “OK” or “better” about working in the industry.
Ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project, Benjamin Souza-Morse, owner of The Salutation Inn, said: “Things have to change to ensure the survival of the industry. Sadly it’s all too often seen as normal practice to work 80 hours a week with no respite. It’s not feasible for people to work all hours under the sun and still perform to the best of their abilities, we wouldn’t expect other industries to work two weeks in one.
“I am constantly adapting my business to try and meet its commercial needs but more importantly the needs of our team. We look closely at: maximum hours, consecutive days off, weekends off, competitive pay rates, free staff food, and staff trips. These are just some of the things which attract and retain staff and we will be working closely with The Burnt Chef Project to ensure that we are an employer of choice, who focus on the mental health and wellbeing of our staff. If businesses recognised the needs of their team, the whole sector could produce a better balanced, desirable profession to work in.”
Further information about The Burnt Chef Project can be found here.