Professionals’ career concerns show need for engagement

Hospitality professionals have told a new survey that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their anxiety about long-term career prospects in the sector.

Hospitality professionals have told a new survey that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased their anxiety about long-term career prospects in the sector.


The Pulse survey from CGA and CPL Learning—based on the Hospitality Professionals panel of people working in a variety of frontline roles and sectors—found that only a fifth (21%) were optimistic about the industry’s prospects for the next six months. More people (36%) are optimistic about the 12 months to come, but both numbers are down by 20 percentage points from a Pulse survey towards the end of the UK’s lockdown in June.


With market pessimism and job instability rising, there are widespread worries about prospects for progression in hospitality. Around a third (35%) of professionals say they are now concerned about their long-term job security—up by 13 percentage points since June.


The pandemic has also triggered a shift in perceptions about hospitality as a place to work. More than half (59%) of professionals still think the sector offers good career opportunities, but this figure has fallen by 15 percentage points since June. People likely to recommend the industry to friends and family as a place to work has tumbled too, from 61% in June to 36% now.


The sentiments point to possible retention and recruitment issues in 2021. While redundancies have deepened the pool of talent available to businesses lately, job security fears could turn some people away from the sector as a place to build a career.


Business leaders’ fears about staff availability could be exacerbated by the UK’s transition from the European Union at the end of this year. CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey at the start of 2020 found that nine in ten (90%) industry leaders thought immigration levels and controls would be a major issue for the sector this year, and two thirds (66%) considered it their biggest recruitment challenge. With all leaders citing staff availability as important to the success of their business, the importance of good recruitment and retention is obvious.

Hospitality professionals have endured a year of unprecedented upheaval, and lockdowns, trading restrictions and safety obligations have made frontline work extremely challenging,” says Chloe Sheerin, consumer research executive at CGA.

“Businesses have generally done a good job of supporting staff and protecting jobs where possible, but these figures are a reminder of the need to stay right on top of teams’ concerns and respond accordingly. Genuine staff engagement, reassurances about job security and clear signalling of career paths will all be crucial to operators’ efforts to retain and recruit the teams that will lead their recovery efforts in 2021.”

The Hospitality Professionals Pulse survey from CGA and CPL Learning gathered views from 198 people. The Hospitality Professionals panel provides insights into people’s experiences at work and can support the strategies of operators across hospitality. To learn more, email


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