Businesses operating in the hospitality and tourism industry can “stand out from the crowd” if they take the lead in combatting the sector’s skills shortages.
Denbighshire-based JVP Group says the burning issue for many employers is the lack of talented and motivated candidates looking to work in the industry.
It means attracting and holding on to the standout talent is that much harder in an extremely competitive environment.
In North Wales, where recruitment advertising company JVP Group is based, the skills crisis is particularly acute. Steps are being taken to address this, most notably with the development of the North Wales Tourism Hospitality Academy, a project spearheaded by North Wales Tourism MD Jim Jones.
Cath Harrison, Founder and Managing Director of JVP Group, said:
“One of the key shortages – something the Academy will help to address – is around what is known as ‘soft skills’. Soft skills are really people skills – the ability to communicate, work well within a team and to demonstrate both social and emotional intelligence.
“Businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry often talk about the importance of getting the customer experience right. They are right when they say this but it should be about a lot more than whether they have invested in the latest visitor attraction, spa facility or historical tour.
“It should also be about how their employees interact with customers, the knowledge and enthusiasm they demonstrate and their willingness to go the extra mile to maximise visitor experience.
“Good employee engagement has a multitude of benefits. It ensures happy customers, it helps a business retain good staff and, crucially, it will attract the best talent to your organisation. Delivery of superb training and development opportunities is key to showing that the industry provides career opportunities not just stop gap jobs.“
New research has revealed the ever increasing contribution the hospitality industry is making to the UK economy.
According to British Hospitality Association data, the sector is Britain’s fourth largest employer, accounting for 3.2million direct jobs and 2.8million indirect jobs.
The BHA goes on to forecast that a further 500,000 jobs could be created over the next five years.
Another report by the World Travel and Tourism Council confirmed that one in ten of the world’s jobs are now generated by the sector.
“The tourism and hospitality industry has, rightly or wrongly, been badged as a very transient industry, but the smarter employers do something about it. They map out a development path for their people in which those with the ambition, work ethic and talent can see a way to climb through the ranks.
“Linked to this is succession planning and a strong employer strategy to take proactive steps to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
“When we help our clients recruit, we do so by attaching their company name and culture insights to the job advertisements rather than our own. We believe this is hugely important in building an employer brand. For many would-be employees it will be the first introduction to a company, an opportunity to get a feel for the values and ethos of their prospective employer.
“A great way to extend the talent pool beyond the local resource is by promoting the geographical location of the job opportunity, as this will attract people who would seriously relocate for a better lifestyle. This is something we are doing with the launch of our own www.jobsinnorthwales.co.uk site.
“Businesses who get it right, really do stand out from the crowd and are giving themselves the chance to attract and retain the best talent.”
Top Tips for Employers
- Build your employer brand so it stands out in the crowd
- Ensure your job advertisements reach the best/widest possible audience
- Work hard to retain your talent
- Pay well – but also offer a range of other benefits
- Take time to develop employee ‘soft skills’
- Talk up your industry and the potential for long-term careers