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Hospitality voices look ahead to 2023

Mark Lewis, chief executive at Hospitality Action

For Lewis the need is right now and that’s only going to increase in 2023 as hospitality workers face a cost-of-living crisis. The charity has already launched an emergency appeal: “The anguish we’re hearing from grant applicants is reminiscent of the first febrile days of the pandemic, and my whole team are working flat out to meet as much demand as our funds allow in the build-up to Christmas. “Applications to Hospitality Action are up by 30 per cent on the same period last year and at least 50 per cent of applications meet our ‘high risk’ criteria where the applicant is at imminent risk of homelessness or court action. ‘Tightening their belts’ is old news, they’ve long since cut every corner, given up every treat, and sold or pawned anything of value. It doesn’t take much to send people over the edge. One unexpected bill can break the fragile thread holding people together and they fall apart. Resources and resilience are completely and utterly spent.”

Robert Richardson FIH MI, CEO Institute of Hospitality (IoH)

In the Institute’s 85th anniversary year Richardson would like to see the Institute achieve Chartered status. This prestigious milestone would internationally signal that the UK hospitality industry has the seal of approval from the UK government. It would recognise that hospitality is an aspirational career pathway for professionals of all ages. “We continue to face staff shortages so I would like to see the skills gap begin to close. Through continuing to inspire more people to enter and remain in the industry and by nurturing young talent from an early age to see hospitality as a career not just a job, we can continue to make an impact,” he says. “ We are stronger if we work together. So, I would like to see more like-minded hospitality training, non-profit organisations and businesses working together with the IoH for the good of the industry. We can make change happen. The industry continues to fight, adapt, change, and succeed but we need more financial assistance for our industry during the current economic uncertainty.”

Jenni Clarke, head of curriculum and learning technologies, Umbrella Training

Given the challenging economic climate, we know that employers and businesses will need to take some significant measures to mitigate against some of the issues we will all be facing in 2023.Both housekeeping, and the wider hospitality sector, will be focussing on how we not only attract new talent into roles but also how we retain existing employees. We are seeing more employers look at having clear development careers plans – offering fun, and more technology led training activity. The younger generation want to see more technology, more flexibility and more purpose-led employers. “Our own research has also found a disconnect between actual salaries and those perceived by young people. This misconception needs to be addressed,” says Clarke. “Internal leaders need to review how they lead their teams. The new generation requires more nurturing than ever before and so the support required from a leader is no longer just a ‘I am your manager’ business transaction, but you will, more often than not, be their mentor, confidante and personal support network.”

Liz Smith-Mills

The founder of LSM Consulting has a wish list as long as your arm when it comes to 2023 – and it’s one many UKHA members and fellow hospitality staff would agree with. The staffing crisis in our sector remains of major concern and she’d like to see some grown up government action on making it much easier for keen workers from abroad to take up roles in hotels and other hospitality businesses here, alongside recognition of how important the industry is for the British economy. And then there’s another form of recognition that concerns Smith-Mills: “The status of cleaning as a profession and its importance for society was undoubtedly highlighted during the pandemic. These were skilled workers, key workers worthy of respect, and who we all needed to be safe. But I do fear some of that is slipping away over time and we need to keep that message going whenever we can.” Smith-Mills is also an ambassador for Hospitality Action and is urging housekeepers and other industry professionals to support this vital charity throughout 2023 and beyond. She suspects a lot of people are going to need it.

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