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Attracting Millennials

By 2025, it is predicted that 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials. However, with nearly 45% of 18-35-year olds considering a career in hospitality as merely a “stop gap”, according to recent research conducted by Nestlé Professional, what can the industry do to attract the next generation of talent into the sector? Paul Lumley, Brand and Communications Manager, Nestlé Professional, takes a closer look at why the millennial market is so important and how to tap into it.


The scale of recruitment needed within the hospitality industry is staggering. Growth in the sector is surging – outstripping all others since the economic crisis – and estimates suggest that 1.3million hospitality workers will need to be recruited by 2024. With our BuzzBites: Talking Talent research* showing that 60% of millennials would consider a career in the field, companies need to think strategically about how to appeal to the next generation.

Getting off on the right foot

Almost three quarters (73%) of managers are concerned the hospitality industry is no longer an attractive career option for millennials. What’s more, 42% of parents would actively discourage their children from working in hospitality (Best Western, Best Western Careers Index, August 2017). In the age of the ‘influencer’, it is vital for parents and those offering job advice to see the opportunities that hospitality provides.

In the BuzzBites: Talking Talent report investigating the talent challenge, Danny Gill, Head Chef at Browns Pie Shop, Lincoln, agrees: “The best way to attract good talent is to make sure people are up to scratch from a very young age. Often, young people and children who are interested in food don’t get the opportunity to discover a love of cooking as part of a curriculum or home life.”

By showcasing the progression available through the likes of apprenticeships and on-the-job training, businesses can bring in and mould young talent from the start, helping to secure the future of the industry. Competitions such as Nestlé Professional’s Toque d’Or are an extension of this real-life skills development. Toque d’Or, for example, offers those involved actual kitchen challenges that educate and push competitors in a series of unique experiences that bridge the gap between the classroom and the reality of the industry.

Fish and ChipsMoving with the times

Away from the classroom, while our research shows that 70% say they are proud to work in the industry, 31% think people do not actively choose hospitality as a career path. Our research reveals this disparity further with better pay (65%), flexible working (46%) and opportunities for career progression (38%) all being cited as examples of what would make millennials more likely to consider a career in hospitality.

While pay is important, just as key to millennials is their time. Increasingly, this generation seeks a good work/life balance (Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Workplace Benefits Report, 2017) and hospitality businesses that appreciate this are better suited to attracting, and keeping, the best young talent.

Our report also reveals the importance of businesses adopting a flexible approach. The Michelin-starred chef, Barry Tonks, is one such example: “We’ve started to accept that it’s not fair to ask people to give up every weekend or do five double shifts in a week. The importance of having a work/life balance is now playing a role in helping attract people into the industry. In my kitchen, I have a really strict 45-hour week policy and I ensure we have fair rotations in place, so every weekend isn’t for work. It’s an approach that is really paying off.”

The role of social responsibility

Businesses that focus on a purpose can also appeal to millennials – a generation that is particularly conscious of issues surrounding sustainability. Studies show that consumers and employees prefer to purchase from, and work for, companies that are invested in social and environmental responsibility (Nielson, Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 2015). Businesses can take this further by finding out what matters to employees – whether it is local charities or world-stage issues – to build an attractive, personalised and authentic solution and instil a sense of community in the team.

As an industry, we have a collective responsibility to drill down into the root of the talent crisis. This means understanding where millennials are coming from and what their aims are for the future. By showcasing the benefits to society, as well as adapting the industry’s culture to suit the demands of a modern lifestyle, hospitality can help change perceptions and secure its future in the process.

BuzzBites: Talking TalentBuzzBites: Talking Talent

* BuzzBites: Talking Talent (survey of 1600 participants), 3GEM in collaboration with Nestlé Professional, August 2017.

For more insight on retaining staff, download the BuzzBites Talking Talent report – an industry report with tips and advice from across the industry on how to attract, develop and retain talent. Visit

Fish and chip industry has youngsters ‘hooked’ With over 10,500 fish and chip shops in the UK, there’s no doubt that a skilled and enthusiastic workforce plays a crucial role in cementing fish and chips firmly as one of the UK’s favourite takeaways.

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive at Seafish, comments: “The fish and chip sector relies on fresh talent to enter the sector to ensure future generations continue to enjoy mouth-watering fish and chips.

“Young people today have an abundance of choice when it comes to selecting a career path, but many still consider the traditional route of higher education and university as the only answer.

“The fish and chip industry offers a diverse array of incredible opportunities for people from all backgrounds, which is why supporting recruitment for the next generation is so important. It’s encouraging to see so many employers embracing apprenticeships and helping to educate talented individuals to pursue a future in fish and chips.”

The National Fish & Chip Awards 2018The National Fish & Chip Awards

This year, The National Fish & Chip Awards – organised by Seafish – celebrates its 30th anniversary. “Within our awards, we aim to celebrate those who go above and beyond in training and supporting our next generation of friers, as well as highlighting the young ambassadors and leaders of our industry through the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award,” explains Coleman. “This particular award works as an excellent platform to demonstrate how rewarding a career in the fish frying trade can be and encourages current young friers to be the best that they can be.”

The finalists of the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award 2018 explain why the seafood sector is their employer of choice.

Andrew HillierAndrew Hillier, Harbourside Fish & Chips, Plymouth, Devon
“Our industry has always been willing to develop young fish friers - I’ve met many friers over the years who are passionate and eager to learn. I have no doubt that award programmes such as the National Fish & Chip Awards play an important role in encouraging young people to consider a long-term career as a fish frier.”

Sam ParrySam Parry, Top Chippy, Conwy, North Wales
“As a third-generation fish frier, I’m proud to be at the forefront of our family-owned fish and chip shop. The best advice I can give to a young person considering a career in the industry is just to get stuck in! It’s hard work, but if you’re passionate and eager to succeed then you’ll thrive.”

Magda GaneaMagda Ganea, The Real Food Café, Tyndrum, Stirlingshire
“Working in the fish frying industry has been life-changing. Despite finding it challenging in the beginning, my managers really encouraged me to be the best I can be – and it has certainly paid off.”

Peter CalvertPeter Calvert, Mister C’s, Selby, North Yorkshire
“When I first started out in the industry, I was amazed at how interesting and exciting this job could be. I’d love to see more work experience opportunities and trade exhibitions to inform youngsters how interesting this career is. This may encourage young people, like myself, to think about a career they may not have considered before.”

Charlie CollinsCharlie Collins, Frydales, Leicester
“Having worked in the fish and chip industry for five years, and owning my own business for three, I’ve noticed how the wider fish and chip industry has really amplified their support towards encouraging young people to consider their careers. “The opportunities in our industry are endless, with apprenticeships growing in popularity. I believe giving younger staff more opportunities in management roles will encourage their business flare, inspiring them to become leaders in our field and support our industry for years to come.”

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