Recruitment Roadblocks: Navigating the Challenges of the Hospitality Industry

Recruitment is a critical component of the hospitality sector, which relies on a steady supply of hard-working and dedicated employees to provide high-quality service to customers. However, the industry is currently facing numerous recruitment challenges that can make it difficult to attract and retain top talent but there are potential solutions and strategies that can be utilised to address these which are outlined below.

Challenges facing the sector


The range of recruitment challenges facing the sector include high turnover rates, difficulty in attracting and retaining talent, competition with other industries, limited applicant pool, and seasonal fluctuations in demand. A study by People 1st found that the hospitality sector faces more recruitment challenges than other industries, including competition with other industries and a negative perception of the industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on recruitment in the UK hospitality sector. According to a survey by the British Hospitality Association, 78% of hospitality businesses reported that it was currently harder to recruit employees than it was before the pandemic.

High turnover rates are a particular concern, with the average turnover rate in the hospitality sector being 30%, compared to an average of 15% across all industries according to a report by KPMG. This makes retaining talent extremely challenging and can be attributed to a range of factors, including low wages, long hours, and limited opportunities for career growth and development.

For similar reasons, attracting talent is also a major issue as the hospitality sector competes with other industries such as retail and healthcare for candidates. Many candidates are likely to view hospitality jobs as low-paying and low-status whereas retail and healthcare are more likely to offer better pay, more stable employment, or more opportunities for career growth and development. This makes it really difficult to attracting top talent.

As a result of the low-paying and low-status perception, there is a limited candidate, particularly in rural or remote areas where there may be fewer potential employees.

The sector also experiences significant seasonal fluctuations in demand, particularly in areas that rely heavily on tourism. During peak seasons, the industry struggles to find enough workers to meet demand, while during off-seasons, there can be a surplus of workers.

Solutions and Strategies


To address these challenges, the hospitality sector can implement a range of solutions and strategies.

Building and implementing a dedicated employee retention programme is vital to help reduce turnover rates by providing employees with incentives to stay with the company. These programmes can include increased hourly rates and additional holiday based on length of service, and flexible scheduling, performance bonuses, and additional training and opportunities for career growth and development.

Competitive compensation and benefits is a must but shouldn’t just focus solely on pay. Additional benefits that are really valued by candidates such as discounted gym membership, travel and cycle to work schemes can play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent.

Building a strong employer brand is a crucial component of attracting and retaining talent. It’s really important you have a clear employer value proposition that stands out from your competitors. What makes you the employer of choice in your sector and local areas? Why should a candidate really want to work for you?

Highlighting the positive aspects of working in the hospitality sector are important, such as the opportunity to meet new people but also that you invest and really value your people. This can be done through the provision of a clear path for advancement within the company as well as offering training, mentoring, and leadership development programmes.

Partnering with educational institutions can also help address the limited applicant pool by acquiring talent at an early stage and providing students with training and education in hospitality-related fields. This can help create a pipeline of potential employees who are already trained and familiar with the industry when they’ve completed their education.



The hospitality sector undoubtedly faces some significant recruitment challenges currently that is making it difficult to attract and retain top talent. These challenges include high turnover rates, a poor perception of the industry, competition with other industries, a limited candidate pool, and seasonal fluctuations in demand.

However, by implementing solutions and strategies such as employee retention programmes, competitive compensation and benefits, building a strong employer brand, providing opportunities for career growth and development, and partnering with educational institutions, the hospitality sector can attempt to address these challenges and improve their ability to attract and retain future talent.