28 Sep 2023
Is Catering and Hospitality a career choice for Gen Z?
l As the largest and most racially diverse generation alive, Gen Z makes up 23% of the global population, so we cannot deny their influence if we are to attract, hire and retain them in the hospitality sector.
As the digital natives of the world, Gen Z are the first generation to be born into a world of technology. From that assumption has come a preconception that they prefer to work behind a screen, as digital nomads, shunning workplaces that require face to face interaction and customer service.
This isn’t true.
Recent research reveals that Gen Z crave face-to-face communication, and that hospitality is an attractive career choice for many Gen Zers.
What hospitality leaders need to be aware of is that while Gen Z will make up a large proportion of the workforce, they will also make up a large proportion of the customer base.
Understanding their values, what’s important to them, and what matters to them when choosing an employer or place to dine is going to be crucial to the future stability of the industry.
At a time of uncertainty around talent and supply of labour to the hospitality industry, this post looks at the relationship between Gen Z and the hospitality industry, and how it can attract, nurture and retain new talent.
An attractive career choice
This may surprise you but stats show that over 50% of Gen Z is interested in a career in the hospitality sector. Flexible hours, physical interaction, career progression are just some of the factors weighing in on that interest.
As this report by Coventry University notes: The UK hospitality sector is increasingly concerned with addressing the ‘image’ of the industry as an attractive career choice.
But the interest is already there. Yes, Gen Z are discerning in their choice of employer, workplace and career development, but there is a huge opportunity for the hospitality industry to embrace this interest from the tech-savvy, socially moral and inclusive generation.
Sparking a passion for a career and subsequent career development within the industry is a common challenge among hospitality and catering leaders. Gen Z enter the workforce with a different set of expectations and are more likely to seek flexible work.
For many, the preconceived idea of Gen Z doesn’t involve the words ‘want to work’. From somewhere, Gen Z has developed a reputation for ‘quiet quitting’, and using their digital skills to build their own side hustles.
Importantly, Gen Z understands the power that’s in the employee’s hands, and they know their value. Fair pay, equal opportunities, career progression and flexible hours will all be important in attracting Gen Z candidates.
They have an entrepreneurial mindset, which is incredibly valuable to a business. Rather than seeing it as a threat, hospitality leaders need to embrace and leverage those characteristics and use them to elevate their business in the eyes of the Gen Z consumer.
Is hospitality seen as risky?
It’s no surprise that after experiencing the pandemic at such a young and impressionable age, seeing the boarded up cafes and restaurant closures, Gen Z have concerns about the security of a career in the sector. As Business Insider writes, Gen Z wants security over their dream career.
It’s important to communicate with Gen Z about the longevity of a career and the subsequent career development that comes with a role in the hospitality industry.
A recent study also notes their interest in management and leadership roles, which should be discussed at an earlier point in their career. In comparison to their counterparts – the millennials – a role in hospitality is being approached differently. Gen Z are more concerned with longevity and future progression.
This isn’t limited to the front of the house. The hospitality industry operates through many other divisions including finance, marketing, revenue management, and food and beverage supply chain planning.
There is trust to be established with the generation while we still recover from the pandemic and grapple with new challenges presented by the cost of the living crisis. But we stand firm in our assertion that the future of hospitality is bright. Addressing the values of Gen Z for example, environmentally conscious operations, Gen Z marketing strategies, varied menus and supply chains.
Gen Z witnessed their parents struggle through the financial uncertainty of both the pandemic and now the looming recession. Financial security is therefore, an incredibly important factor in where they choose to pursue a career.
Gen Z are more likely to pursue careers with hospitality businesses that can prove their ability to weather a storm, remain resilient and adaptable and reinvent the wheel if they need to, in times of economic uncertainty.
As we’ve discussed before, technology plays a big part in that. Technology is transforming both the way we serve and nurture our customers, as well as how we communicate with and manage staff. It’s simplifying processes and you know we love engineered simplicity at Classeq. Hospitality businesses that seem stuck in their ways, attached to old processes and products that don’t reflect societal changes, are not as likely to strike a chord with this savvier, mindful generation.
Inclusion and diversity
Gen Z are refreshingly open and confident about expressing their individual identities. Long gone are the days of fitting into a box in the workplace, wearing the same ‘uniform’ and conforming to societal norms.
There was a time where you were told to cover piercings and tattoos before a job interview, but now, Gen Z are encouraging all of us to embrace our differences and uniqueness.
Gen Z wants a workplace where they feel comfortable to be themselves.
73% of Gen Z believe they need more self-expression to live a happy, healthy life
So, creating an environment where Gen Z feels safe to express their individuality, their sexuality, gender expression, and personality is going to be core to attracting and nurturing Gen Z talent.
Catering and hospitality is a popular choice for Gen Z not just because of the potential career progression, management, and leadership opportunities but also because of the ability to express themselves freely at work.
Despite their heavy digital presences, Gen Z value face-to-face interaction and physical interaction at work. They seek a place where they interact with a diverse group of people whether that be customers or colleagues and build financial security.
Gen Z wants to work. They display a hunger to build a better future for themselves and the world, and with that comes a palpable drive to support change in any way they can for the better.
So to conclude…
Gen Z can bring innovative and fresh perspectives on customer service, offer ideas on how to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious, and even help manage social media and tech platforms in ways that connect with others in their cohort. There is a lot the hospitality sector can offer Gen Z, but also a lot they can offer us. If we work to understand each other, this is an exciting relationship in bloom.
At Classeq, we are passionate about the growth and success of the hospitality sector. That’s why we are committed to providing you with content that explores every juncture of the hospitality journey from the distribution of catering equipment right through to the patron’s plate.
If there is a topic you’d like us to explore further, do let us know. Otherwise, view our full content library here, or speak to a member of the team today . Whether it’s a new machine you need, or technical support, our team is ready to assist.
External Sources & References
Generation Z Statistics
This is how Gen Z will communicate at work
Stats: Over 50% of Gen Z interested in hospitality career
Coventry University Online
From Ghosting to Quiet Quitting
Gen Z Wants Financial Stability Over Their Dream Job
What Millennials Look For in Their First Hospitality Job
Gen Z: Identity and Expression in Digital World
16 Aug 2023
4 Jul 2023