You have probably seen the government report that was featured in Caterer & Hotelkeeper showing the relative happiness of workers in 274 different job categories.
High on the list at number 9 were hotel managers and proprietors with an average salary of £32,470 (a somewhat misleading figure as it lumps all levels and sizes of operation together – most of the general managers that I mix with could scarcely pay their children’s school fees with that amount).
Close to the bottom of the league were waiters & waitresses and bar staff at numbers 244 and 266 respectively and with average salaries below £8,000 (presumably including a lot of part-timers and those who work seasonally or between their studies). Least happy of the lot are publicans (average salary £25,222).
It would be easy to ascribe the gulf, in terms of happiness, between managers and junior staff purely on the money. But a very important factor is missing from these findings. In many cases they are THE SAME PEOPLE, just at different stages in their careers. Successful hoteliers often start at the bottom (Raymond Blanc was a washer-up before he taught himself how to cook) and countless GMs started as waiters, as I did myself. The fact is that bright people can progress to more senior positions incredibly quickly in our trade and lift their earnings in the process.
We somehow have to explain to parents, teachers and job-seekers that an entry-level role in hospitality should be seen as an apprenticeship with limitless potential, rather than a dead end job with rubbish pay.