The Chef Shortage: An old problem that requires new thinking

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th September 2015
The Chef Shortage: An old problem that requires new thinking by Martin-Christian Kent, executive director, People 1st There doesn’t seem to have been a time when we didn’t have a chef shortage, but periodically its impact becomes more intense. We currently seem to be in one of those periods. Tom Kerridge low resBack in 2007 People 1st reported that, despite a surge in culinary excellence, UK kitchens were faced with a 6% rise in demand for chefs but a 10% drop in training places at catering colleges. Our latest figures suggest that, currently, 42% of chef vacancies are considered hard-to-fill with the industry needing to recruit an additional 11,000 chefs by 2022. Chef shortages continue to hit the headlines with key figures including Tom Kerridge and Daniel Clifford joining others in sounding a rallying cry for action. The depth of the current crisis has even prompted chef Sat Bains to announce that his eponymous two-Michelin starred restaurant will switch to a four-day week from this November. An innovative and, admittedly, altruistic move that will gift staff an extra 48 days per year with no fall in salary. People 1st is embarking upon a large-scale body of research with chefs, chef organisations, hospitality businesses, industry commentators, recruitment agencies and suppliers to get a better understanding of the scale of the problem for different categories of chefs working across the industry. As part of this research we want to identify the different types of skills the industry will need in the next five to ten years and ways in which we can best meet those needs. Already there have been some passionate views from chefs working across the industry. Most firmly believe that being a chef should be a fantastic career option, but then relate their experience of seasoned chefs leaving the industry, because they are ‘burnt out’ owing to the long hours and pressure.Overworked-chef Others have raised the need increase pay in order to compete with other sectors, but that tight profit margins make this impossible. One chef has said he has even stopped promoting careers in his local college as he can’t ‘recommend catering as a career any longer’, while a mother whose son is considering a career in the sector is concerned that he is about to enter a ‘macho’, ‘bullying’ culture. This gives a flavour of the types of views being expressed so far. If you work in hospitality and care about the future of this fantastic industry we want to hear from you. For more information on the research or how to have your say email me at martin-christian.kent@people1st.co.uk

People 1st identifies industry needs across the hospitality, tourism, leisure, People-1st-Logo-ptp-RGB-hiRestravel, passenger transport and retail industries and works in partnership with employers to develop class-leading solutions that increase performance through people. For more information visit: www.people1st.co.uk, call 020 3074 1222 or tweet @p1stgroup

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th September 2015

The Chef Shortage: An old problem that requires new thinking