Hospitality employers continued to recruit and train despite recession

The hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector has continued to recruit new staff and invest in training despite the recession, according to a new report.

The State of the Nation 2010 report, from sector skills council People 1st, shows that 45% of the 2,000 employers questioned recruited new staff in the 12 months to March 2010. More than half (55%) said the recession has made it easier to retain staff.

The economic downturn does not appear to have affected the amount of training businesses in this sector provide for their staff, with 59% offering the same amount in 2010 as in 2009, while 14% provided more training. Training spend was £2,575 per head, compared to an all-sector average of £1,725.

In last year’s report, more than half of the 1,300 respondents said they were expecting to cut training budgets in the following 12 months.

Of the 34% of sector employers that indicated in 2009 that they intended to seek government funding for training, only 6% actually did so, most likely as a result of cuts in the availability of funded provision, the report suggests.

More sector employers report that their staff do not have the necessary skills to meet their business needs – rising from 19% two years ago to 26% in 2009. The biggest skills gaps cited by employers were around management and leadership, chef skills, and customer service skills.

Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said: “Investment and ongoing professional development is essential to the continued success of the UK’s hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry.

“While training levels have substantially improved, People 1st continues to ensure that this money is spent in the most economic way, improving the situation for employers, employees and service levels across the sector.”

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