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Do Hospitality Careers Need A Re-Brand?

Posted on 17 June, 2019

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New research from HIT Training highlights 16-20-year-olds’ perceptions of the sector

  • Over half of 16- 20-year olds wouldn’t consider a career in hospitality
  • Before turning 20, as many as 3 in 5 Gen Z know what they want to do as a career
  • Two thirds of 16-20-year-olds are considering an apprenticeship

New research has identified that over half (53%) of 16-20-year-olds wouldn’t consider a career in hospitality. The top reasons for this are it’s seen as ‘a stepping stone to another career’, as having ‘limited career prospects’ and viewed as ‘a part-time job while studying’ – posing the question, do hospitality careers need a re-brand?

The results, which are from a new study by HIT Training and Get My First Job, highlight the worrying perceptions the younger generation have of hospitality careers and the need for the sector to address these and open the door to future talent.

The research found that before they even turn 20, as many as 3 in 5 know what they want to do as a career. For over a third of Generation Z, this important life decision is made while still in school. What’s more, conducting work experience was identified as the biggest influence on this generations’ career choices, followed by their teachers and parents.  

What’s clear is valuable work experience is a crucial way to attract the younger generation into the sector. When asked, two thirds of 16-20-year-olds claimed to be considering an apprenticeship, much higher than the 19% deliberating university, suggesting that development and on-the-job training are attractive to young adults.

Speaking about the research results, Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training, said: “What these latest findings show is that the hospitality industry needs to do more to shout about the benefits and development programmes available in the sector to make it a more attractive place to work for the younger generation. This same approach is also required for those working in hospitality on a part-time basis to encourage them to view the sector as a permanent career option. Experiences, development opportunities and working culture are of greater importance to this workforce and all key attributes which need to be highlighted as part of the recruitment process.

“As professionals within the hospitality industry, we have a duty of care to showcase what a career in hospitality can offer to all ages. The research shows that key influences in the younger generations’ career choices are during school, work experience and the views of their teachers and parents – let’s maximise these opportunities and change perceptions to make sure that when they do consider their future occupation, hospitality is in the running.”

To support the industry in protecting the future of the sector, HIT Training has launched a revolutionary new campaign for 2019. Don’t Waste: The Future of Hospitality aims to bring the industry together to champion the varied career opportunities available and implement practical solutions to lessen the skills shortage.

As part of this, HIT Training is calling on Levy-paying business in the hospitality sector to pledge to transfer a percentage of their Levy fund to an SME within the industry and help provide high-quality development opportunities through apprenticeship programmes. This campaign comes at a time when entry-level apprenticeships within small hospitality businesses are at an all-time low, causing a barrier to social mobility and the growth of the sector.

For more information on Don’t Waste: The Future of Hospitality or to pledge a percentage of your Levy fund, please visit:

OR to pledge a percentage of your Apprenticeship Levy fund to the sector, please visit:


McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

There is a shortage of skilled chefs within in our industry at present and any organisation that truly believes in the value of training and development of bright future stars will enable themselves to be in a strong position for the years ahead. Investing in smart training and development is at the heart of what we do within WSH, so it has been refreshing to work alongside HIT within our Baxterstorey Chef Academy. 

Rik Razza - Head of Chef Development, BaxterStorey


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