Where are all the chefs?

Friday, December 2, 2016

The hospitality industry is growing and it’s a candidates’ market. In fact, it’s predicted the industry will need to recruit 11,000 chefs by 20221

So, why are businesses with chef vacancies finding them so hard to fill? 

A chef putting the finishing touches to a dish

With cookery books topping the bestseller lists, chefs hitting new levels of

Superstardom, and food shows such as Masterchef to Great British Menu taking over our TV screens, you’d be forgiven for assuming that young talented chefs are lining up to compete for jobs in the Industry.

However, in reality, it seems the opposite is true.

The talent shortage was blamed when Restaurant Sat Bains reduced its opening hours to just four days a week, showing that even the glamorous end of the industry is struggling to recruit. A shocking situation, especially at a time when so many millennials are struggling to find employment (according to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), graduate vacancies have dropped for the first time in four years2).

It seems that despite the growth of the Industry, government cutbacks in funding for practical cookery training means the availability of college tuition is becoming more limited. The ultimate result is that over the next decade we are facing a huge problem in finding skilled chefs.

As an industry, we must work together to stand up and support the efforts of organisations like People 1st and HIT Training, which are linking businesses with chef vacancies to students graduating with professional cookery diplomas from accredited colleges.

Take Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or, for example. This competition is about sustaining and supporting hospitality students coming up through the college system with practical hands-on learning, whilst also promoting the opportunities Hospitality offers them as a career. 

Together we are stronger. That’s why we need to work together to support the next generation of chefs to fill the gap in skilled talent, and the more we can assist colleges in delivering learning through ‘doing’, the better.

If, as predicted, the industry needs to recruit 11,000 chefs by 2022, then there is no time to lose.