Hospitality sector ‘is bucking the economic trend’

In the hospitality industry, it is easy to look at national employment figures and come away with a gloomy perception of the current market.

But the truth is that the sector is actually growing from strength to strength, with the number of restaurant and hotel vacancies on the rise.

Philippe Rossiter, chief executive at the Institute of Hospitality, pointed out that restaurant jobs have risen by more than 100,000 since before the start of the financial downturn in 2007, while the number of hotel positions is also on the up.

"The UK hospitality industry is bucking the general economic trend and is predicted to continue growing," he explained.

"It can offer a wide variety of roles to match the needs and skills of individuals. As an industry, it has very low barriers to entry and can accommodate both younger and older workers. [It] is also able to offer flexible working and is a fun and exciting sector in which to work."

Indeed, it appears that many people are becoming interested in hospitality careers around the country, particularly in the south-east where the number of restaurants specialising in Asian and Oriental cuisine has rocketed by 22 per cent between 2009 and this year.

Figures published by the Hospitality Guild show that while eateries producing ethnic food are opening their doors all the time, there is still a problem with filling chef jobs with skilled individuals.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, commented: "The increase in the number of Asian and Oriental restaurant businesses in the south-east is encouraging as many restaurants have been struggling to keep their doors open during the recession. There is an ongoing skills shortage across the country, particularly for chefs."

To address this issue, People 1st has teamed up with the Hospitality Guild to open five Asian and Oriental Centres of Excellence to teach talented job-hunters how to develop their skills in the specific techniques of overseas cuisine.

Several high-profile restaurants, including the Cinnamon Club, Lasan and Blue Elephant, will be taking part in the initiative by offering apprenticeships to programme participants.