Lack of soft skills ‘could cost’ hospitality industry

A lack of soft skills could be costing hospitality businesses billions, according to a new report from People 1st. 

The report said that skills such as customer service, teamwork and dealing with complaints are worth £88bn to the UK economy and almost £8bn to the retail and food services markets alone.

Despite these figures, the report found that four out of five skills that employers report missing in job applicants are soft skills such as these.

The report also highlighted that the problem is found amongst existing staff, with 61% of hospitality and tourism businesses experiencing a lack of skills in customer handling – 26% of these businesses believe they have lost business to competitors as a result.

Martin-Christian Kent, executive director at People 1st, believes that the hospitality and tourism sector is struggling more than other industries to attract staff with these skills.

He said: “The impact the lack of soft skills has upon hospitality and tourism businesses is huge. We are a people-oriented industry and, if staff don’t have these skills, it can be highly damaging. It can result in loss of business, difficulty meeting quality standards and overworking the existing workforce.

“We need to compete better when it comes to attracting more able applicants into the industry or, alternatively, find more effective ways of developing these skills.”

The report suggested a number of ways in which employers could address the soft skills “crisis”, including a greater emphasis on pre-employment training.

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