Conference News March 2019 - Page 25

25 increases. Advertised salaries for chef roles lead the way for increases. These figures are in keeping with the trend that hospitality providers are taking catering demands by delegates seriously. Analysis of more than 10m jobs posted across sectors since 2015, found that some roles within the sector increased at some of the fastest rates in the UK. For instance, the average advertised salary for an executive chef increased by 8.5% to almost £45,800 in the past year, while hotel managers (7.8%) and pastry chefs (4.7%) also saw a significant increase in advertised salaries. Bill Dawes, area manager of Reed Hospitality & Leisure, said: “The hospitality sector is in great health. Innovative outlets are popping up everywhere, with technology supporting both back and front-of-house tasks. Training, recruitment and retention are improving significantly, thanks in large part to new academies. The only concerns in the sector are uncertainty over Brexit, and struggling high street chains. “Despite this, the British Hospitality Association predicts there’ll be another 500,000 hospitality jobs created by 2022, demonstrating the growth and expansion of the sector in the coming years. And companies are employing people on permanent contracts, so there still remains an undercurrent of confidence that this consumer dependent industry is strong enough to thrive after Brexit.” Regionally, the biggest increases were seen in the East Midlands, which saw a 5% increase against the UK average of 0.5% for the industry. Roles in the region such as operations director and food & beverage manager experienced large increases of 5.8% and 9.1% respectively. Dawes continued: “Companies have a better view of the staff they need and this has involved heavier investments in HR, retention and internal recruiters hired to attract candidates. This has coincided with Cover Story greater investment in training to convince new workers that this industry is not a short-term career option. Hospitality and leisure can give passionate people that have the skills to work in a consumer-facing industry a rewarding career for life. “If a quote is extremely cheap or a client knocks it down to an unworkable amount then it is the staff who will suffer.” Margaret Reeves, managing director, RefTech Paying a living wage Of course, being paid a living wage is what any employee will view as a deciding factor when looking for work. Events industry technology provider RefTech was an early adopter of the Living Wage Accredited Employer scheme. Margaret Reeves, managing director, RefTech, said: “We became a Living Wage Accredited Employer in 2015 and I believe we were the first event industry supplier to do so. It was a simple step at the time because all our staff were already earning over the living wage anyway. The Living Wage Foundation now calls their minimum salary the ‘Real Living Wage’ because it reflects the real cost of living – their amount is higher than the Government’s ‘National Living Wage.’ “When the Foundation raised the Real Living Wage last year, we had staff on training schemes who were working towards, but not yet earning this new higher amount. Their planned wage progression had to be reviewed and we increased their salary ahead of their training in order to keep paying over the minimum Real Living Wage and therefore ensure we could continue to be a Living Wage Accredited Employer. “We pride ourselves in offering a great service to our clients – but we may not be the cheapest because we pay our staff properly. I believe that many event suppliers simply cannot pay the Real Living Wage to staff because they do not charge a fair price for their services. This culture of knocking down prices and buying as cheaply as possible is damaging the industry and the wider UK economy and has to stop. “I urge agencies and corporates not to simply buy on price alone, but to look at the ethics and ethos of their supplier. If a quote is extremely cheap or a client knocks it down to an unworkable amount then it is the staff who will suffer.”