Midlife workers may shift the face of the hospitality industry, as new research reveals industry “boomerangs” could help plug the sector’s labour shortage while also meeting consumer demand for workers over 50.
The research, conducted by Caterer.com, reveals that 2.5 million people over 50 are interested in moving into the hospitality industry while almost half of the population (45%) say they’ve worked in the sector at some point in their lives.
The demographic presents a potentially abundant talent pool for hospitality employers – almost a third (30%) of workers over 50 are looking for a career change and when considering career options hospitality is the most popular choice for a career move.
The survey of more than 4,250 consumers and hospitality employees shows that workers over 50 have the potential to deliver strong business results for restaurants, bars and hotels by improving customer experience and loyalty.
One in four (25%) consumers say they would trust hospitality workers over 50 to take their order and payment more than their younger counterparts, while 38% would be more comfortable if a hospitality worker over 50 handled their complaint or assisted in a crisis.
Neil Pattison, director at Caterer.com, said: “Our research shows that workers over 50 are among the most valued demographics in the hospitality industry with many customers placing greater trust and confidence in them.
“The hospitality workforce is set to be heavily impacted by the government’s new proposed immigration rules, so many employers are actively reaching new talent pools to find the people they want to hire. Older workers are one such valuable group. It’s key that employers challenge the stigma that might be associated with age and nurture progressive attraction and retention strategies that look beyond traditional hiring habits. Employees with years of experience behind them bring a fresh perspective to a workforce, having gained a wide range of skills and knowledge during their careers. There’s also the likelihood they will bring connections and customers with them which could further benefit hospitality businesses. Caterer.com encourages employers to review all stages of their hiring process, from job adverts to employee benefits, to ensure they consider applicants of all ages equally.”