With the busiest season for hospitality almost in full swing, the reemergence of a national chef shortage could not have come at a worse time...
Reports by recruitment agencies show that there aren't enough trained chefs in the UK, with 61% of specialist recruitment agencies unable to provide enough chefs to restaurants and other hospitality firms over Christmas due to a skill shortage, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
The REC has warned that the shortage is only likely to worsen, a combination of staff turnover, and even potential changes to immigration policies, following Brexit.
'We know that a huge number of chefs leave the industry after just a short time because they've had a bad experience,' says Katie Mellor, director of sales and operations at hospitality recruitment business, CJUK. 'To encourage more chefs to stay in work, restaurants need to provide better flexibility and pay.
'One of the key reasons a chef will choose to work via an agency is so they get paid for every hour they work, rather than working unpaid overtime in a permanent role. Restaurants are already struggling to keep their kitchens staffed – chefs need more flexibility and better conditions if this is to improve.'
Attempting to combat the shortage, CJUK will be running the only live interim Chef Conference, showcasing the talent of the industry and working on ways to make the profession more enjoyable – resulting in better staff retention. The conference will be held on 17 January in Accrington Lancashire.