Last updated: 23.03.13

Tailored training 'would close skills gap in hospitality sector'

Firms in the hospitality and tourism industry need to roll out tailored training to their employees in order to reduce the skills gap and boost productivity.

This is according to the new State of the Nation report published by People 1st, the sector skills council for hospital, travel, tourism and leisure sector, which revealed 21 per cent of employers in these fields are complaining of a skills shortage.

It stated that despite the fact staff turnover rates dropped from 31 per cent in 2009 to 20 per cent last year, losing so many workers is undermining the industry's investment in successful training.

Although many bosses are seemingly optimistic about the future of their businesses, the publication noted 88 per cent believe customer service skills will grow in importance over the next three to five years.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, explained the sector is set to come under pressure in the coming months and years as the skills needs predicted to grow are already in short supply.

He said managers are claiming many of their staff lack vital customer service and leadership skills, adding: "A lot of effort has gone into attracting people into the industry, but this shows that what we really need to do is place much more emphasis on making sure that the staff we already have in the industry are retained and given the training they need."

The survey discovered only 41 per cent of hospitality and tourism organisations have offered training in the past 12 months, while those that do provide it are spending most of their money elementary occupations that are carried out at the most basic level.

In addition, the sector shells out an average of £3,625 per person on business training, a far higher sum than the average for all industries, which is currently £3,275.

Instead of organising workplace training sessions that use up valuable corporate time, firms could instead consider creating their own online learning resources that employees can access out of working hours in their spare time.