Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday quoted the British Hospitality Association’s chief executive, Bob Cotton as saying that his industry considered British applicants “unemployable”.
Cotton’s comments were made at a recent parliamentary inquiry into tourism. Now he has written a response to the Mail on Sunday article, which I’m reproducing in full below. What are your thoughts on the issue? Do many British youngsters lack a decent work ethic? Do workers from overseas provide a long-term solution to staff shortages in hospitality? And what should be done to draw greater numbers of British workers into the sector?
“Last week, in giving evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Tourism, the high incidence of employment of migrant labour in the hospitality industry was raised.
I believe that this is one of the major challenges facing the industry. Hospitality employs so many migrant workers because it is clear that few British youngsters want to make a career in the hospitality industry – at a time when unemployment among British young people is high and rising, and when too many others are on benefit.
Of course there are many British workers, like overseas workers, who are highly motivated, very willing to work and eager to learn new skills. The industry would far prefer to recruit these young people if they were available but many employers have found, too often, that British youngsters lack a work ethic and the motivation to learn. When migrant workers are knocking on their door and asking for a job, then it is little wonder that hospitality employers look to overseas workers to fill the many excellent and worthwhile jobs that are available.
The industry has always been highly cosmopolitan. The current wave of migrant workers is nothing really new. It follows a similar influx of workers from other countries in the past, and the industry – and the general economy – has gained hugely by their presence.
If the education system could produce more young British people who are more motivated to work, want to learn new vocational skills and are keen to make a career in one of the most important of this country’s economic drivers, then employers would snap them up.
British Hospitality Association