Do hospitality staff really hate their employers – and what can we do to change this?

The hospitality industry has plenty to offer, from exciting, fast-paced work and rapid promotion, to incredible opportunities to work with some of the best names in the business – so why are staff in the industry so miserable?

Figures from Investors in People (IIP) claimed that 65 per cent of catering and leisure employees are currently unhappy in their jobs, with the vast majority (60 per cent) considering a change of job this year.

While it is tempting to suggest that this level of dissatisfaction may not be solely due to the type of work, but endemic of an overall unhappiness rife within the UK workforce, the survey indicates this is not the case. Indeed, it was found that 60 per cent of employees in the UK are unhappy within their roles, with 57 per cent thinking about a move. These figures are slightly lower than those in the hospitality industry. 

If employees in the sector are unhappy, the best talent is bound to look to escape – or even avoid working in hospitality at all – which could be a big loss for many in the industry. This is why it is important to implement important changes as to how the sector operates.

So, what can we do to help our workers be happier? 

Make them feel valued!

One of the top reasons for wanting out of the hospitality industry in the survey was not feeling valued as a member of staff. 

There are plenty of things employers can do to combat this issue – both big and small.

Increasing pay is the most obvious way to ensure your staff feel valued. Rates for some hospitality roles do not match the living wage, which currently sits at £7.85 per hour. The National Minimum Wage, by comparison, is set at just £6.50 per hour for those aged 21 or over. It is estimated that the London Living Wage stands at £9.15, which is around 40 per cent more than what many people in hospitality jobs earn in the capital. 

However, if raising wages are out of the question, there are plenty of other – less costly – perks you could secure for workers, from classic corporate deals such as free gym memberships and discounts at various restaurants and bars, to putting on free social events and introducing award/incentive schemes. 

Job satisfaction

Another top issue for those working in the hospitality sector is a lack of job satisfaction, according to the survey. 

Again, rectifying this does not have to mean a big expense! 

The right sort of management can make a huge difference when it comes to upping job satisfaction and morale boosting. There are many challenges for people in the industry – rude customers, physically demanding shifts and unsociable hours being just a few – so employees need a manager that will make all this seem worthwhile.

The hospitality industry, in particular, often has youthful managers. This, in itself can be beneficial, but it also means that they are likely to be less experienced. Ensuring you have the right talent in your management jobs, and making the most of this potential by giving employees access to the right sort of training to upskill, can go a long way to improving the morale of your larger workforce.