In a remarkable turn of events, a new report indicates that over a third of workers in the UK’s hospitality sector are now over the age of 50. This data serves as a noteworthy sequel to our previous article, “Paradigm Shift: Record Numbers of Over-50s Workers Now in Part-Time Roles,” which highlighted the growing trend of older employees opting for part-time roles.
The Statistics Speak Volumes
According to a recent report by caterer.com, of the 2.2 million individuals working in Britain’s hospitality venues — ranging from restaurants to pubs — around 750,000 are over 50 years of age. This demographic shift isn’t just a statistical blip; the number of older workers in the sector has ballooned by more than 165,000 since the onset of the pandemic. These figures, based on an analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, signify that the total percentage of hospitality workers over 50 has reached 34% for the first time ever.
The Drivers Behind the Trend
The UK cost-of-living crisis seems to be one factor pushing this older workforce back into active roles. The report suggests that for more than two-thirds of hospitality companies, financial stressors on individuals in their 50s and 60s contributed to this uptick in employment numbers. On surveying 2,000 adults, caterer.com found that a third took on a job to supplement their pension, a quarter to counter boredom, and a fifth to remain active.
Strategic Recruitment and Retention
What makes this trend even more intriguing is the industry’s high turnover rate, around 30%, which is nearly double the national average. Currently, there are roughly 118,000 job vacancies across the sector. In response, companies are re-evaluating their employment strategies. A whopping four out of five hospitality businesses are prioritising the hiring of over 50s, viewing them as a “previously untapped talent pool.”
A Wealth of Experience
Older workers bring in not just years but also a plethora of skills including business knowledge, work ethic, and the ability to stay calm under pressure. Companies leading the charge in this employment strategy include Fuller’s brewery, The Wolseley Hospitality Group, and Compass Group. Tracy Riddell, senior manager at the Centre for Ageing Better, commented, “Employers’ commitment to the recruitment and retention of workers in their 50s and 60s will better support this sector, filling crucial vacancy gaps.”
The Future Outlook
It’s clear that the landscape of the hospitality industry is evolving, and older employees are playing a crucial role in this transformation. The industry stands as an example, demonstrating that age-diverse policies aren’t just ethical but also a smart business move. By continuing to adapt and innovate, the unseen engine behind the hospitality sector can be tapped into for a more inclusive and resilient workforce.
The Workers Union says…
“The shift towards age-diverse employment policies in the hospitality sector reveals the potential for broader, systemic change in the employment market. It serves as a case study for how adaptability and inclusivity can overcome challenges, filling crucial roles while enriching the workplace environment.”