A third of workers want to return to sector this year

The Burnt Chef Project has revealed almost one third of worker who have left the hospitality industry are looking to return to the sector within the next six months.

The findings are the result of a survey rolled out by The Burnt Chef Project, which looks to improve mental health awareness in the sector, which aimed to explore issues around staffing within hospitality - looking to ascertain why people had left the industry within the last 12 months.

Work-life balance was the most frequently mentioned barrier to working in the sector and most commonly cited reason for leaving. 

The vast majority of the 2,311 UK based respondents (84%) are still working within the industry: 45% of them were chefs and most (75%) had been furloughed during the pandemic. 

The survey, which was launched in June and rolled out via Peopleful and Umbrella Insights, found that nearly a third of those not currently working within the sector are planning to return within the year, with 10% in the next six months. 

However, there are challenges the industry faces which are impacting those who work within it and must be addressed before the industry can become a sustainable career choice for many. 

One in five respondents were planning on leaving in the next 12 months and around a third (37%) remained 'on the fence'.

When asked what changes would improve recruitment and retention in hospitality, the majority said, ”feeling valued’.

Unsociable and unpredictable hours - inherent in the trade - were a barrier to one in five, while salary and stressful working environments were also frequently cited barriers (one third). Only 4% of those asked highlighted job security as a concern. 

Not surprisingly, 40% of respondents struggled with their mental health over the past 12 months, with around one in six reporting it has been ‘not good’. General managers are seemingly those finding the pressures impacting their mental health the most with 42% reporting a decline in the overall level of mental wellbeing since reopening.

However, 60% of individuals report feeling ‘okay’ or ‘better’ about working in the industry, showing there is a large proportion of the workforce keen to stay.

Training to improve awareness

"There are achievable, mid-term solutions which can be implemented within the workplace to put the industry on the path to success," says Kris Hall, founder of The Burnt Chef Project.

"These include 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”.

For anyone looking for advice or wishing to implement mental health training within their organisation, contact [email protected] for details. 

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