- People over 50 now make up 34% of the hospitality sector’s workforce – a 14% jump
- 84% of hospitality businesses have introduced age diverse policies and benefits to improve their proposition for over 50s
- With sustained labour shortages, the report shows how the sector has been quick to adapt to attract previously untapped talent pools
More than 165,000 workers over 50 have joined the hospitality sector in the last three years, according to a new report from industry recruitment platform Caterer.com.
The report reveals that people over 50 now make up over a third (34%) of the sector’s workforce. This proportion is up 14% on February 2020 levels.
How hiring over 50s became a top priority
More than four in five (84%) hospitality businesses have introduced age diverse policies and benefits to improve their proposition for this demographic, ranging from re-entry or returner programmes (49%), age inclusive diversity and inclusion training for all staff (23%) through to flexible scheduling to accommodate individual needs (21%).
With sustained labour shortages, the report shows how the sector has been quick to adapt to attract previously untapped talent pools. Age diversity is the top priority for hospitality employers when it comes to improving the diversity, equity, and inclusion of their workforce and the vast majority (77%) of hospitality employers say over 50s are important in solving the sector’s labour shortages.
Fuller’s, The Wolseley Hospitality Group and Compass Group are amongst those organisations leading the way in building age diverse workforces and attracting over 50s talent.
Why over 50s are joining the hospitality industry
Four in five (72%) hospitality employers agree that the cost-of-living crisis is inspiring more people over the age of 50 to take on new jobs to boost their income. However, nearly 3m people over 50 in the UK would consider a job in the hospitality industry, and the most common drivers for this go well beyond financial reasons. The sector provides this age demographic with opportunities to keep physically active and build social connections, with job roles to suit almost any schedule.
The most common reasons over 50s might be considering a hospitality job are:
- To make people happy (32%)
- To supplement pension (29%)
- To fill my free time and/or to avoid boredom (25%)
- For the social benefits/social workplace culture (25%)
- To keep active/for fitness benefits (20%)
Over 50s bringing valuable skills
The report highlights the value workers over 50 can bring to hospitality venues, and how this demographic can improve businesses’ productivity.
Two in five (39%) hospitality businesses recognise that employees over the age of 50 can bring better customer experience skills to a role compared to any other age group. Other skills that over 50’s bring that are unrivalled by other age groups include strong work ethic (37%), problem solving (35%), business knowledge (33%) and the ability to remain calm in difficult situations (31%).
Decision makers have also noted enhanced experience level within the workforce (43%), improved skill diversity (40%) and improved employee retention (39%) as a result of having an age diverse workplace.
Kathy Dyball, Director at Caterer.com, commented:
“We know that age diversity is a top priority for hospitality employers when it comes to improving the diversity, equity and inclusion of their workforce. Hospitality businesses are paving the way for other sectors with the introduction of truly age diverse policies and hiring approaches, and the rewards are clear to see. This is a strong and innovative sector and employers within it continue to evolve in order to succeed, despite the many challenges of the current trading environment.
“Employees over 50 offer a wealth of experience and transferrable skills, which enhance the overall customer experience and foster a positive workplace culture. With the UK experiencing an ageing population, and the hospitality sector still seeking to fill 118,000 open vacancies (ONS), this growing talent pool is a clear and ready source of new hires and the team at Caterer.com work closely with customers every day to help them attract and retain them.”
Tracy Riddell, Senior Programme Manager for Age-friendly Employment at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“It is really encouraging to see so many hospitality employers making a commitment to age-inclusive practices and policies. The growth in the number of older workers over the past three years demonstrates a level of commitment by employers to the recruitment and retention of workers in their 50s and 60s that will better support this sector, filling crucial vacancy gaps.
“Going forward, we want age-diversity practice becoming common practice industry-wide. Any employers who want to become more age-diverse will find support and information through signing up to our Age-friendly Employer Pledge. They will be joining more than 230 other organisations and companies, including Joseph Holt, Compass Group and Imperial London Hotels, which have signed up within the programme’s first year.”
Caterer.com has over 12,000 hospitality and jobs available online. To find more opportunities for those over 50, or to build an approach to hire them, take a look at www.caterer.com.
Caterer.com commissioned the following research through Opinium:
- 2,000 UK adults between the period of 8th September 2023 – 12th September 2023
- 100 hospitality hiring decision makers between 7th September 2023 – 13th September
In February 2020 there were 2,026,580 employees in the industry (ONS). According to our research, on average 28.7% of those employed were over 50, equating to 581,628 individuals. Therefore, there are an additional 165,239 within the sector now compared to pre-pandemic.
Caterer.com is the hospitality industry’s hiring platform matching the right people with the right jobs. Caterer.com unrivalled technology, teams and solutions help businesses reach the right hospitality people with their jobs and brand messaging. With search, match and apply tools unlike any other, Caterer.com is built to find you the right hospitality hires for future business success.
About the Centre for Ageing Better
Everyone has the right to a good life as they get older and our whole society benefits when they do. But far too many people face huge barriers that prevent them from doing so.
As a result, many older people are living in bad housing, dealing with poverty and poor health and made to feel invisible in their communities and society.
The Centre for Ageing Better is pioneering ways to make ageing better a reality for everyone.
Its key areas of work include challenging ageism and building a nationwide Age-friendly Movement, creating Age-friendly Employment and Age-friendly Homes.
It is a charitable foundation funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and part of the Government’s What Works Network.