What careers are available in the catering industry? 

A passion for food may seem like a standard requirement in a catering job, but statistics found that only one third of employees had this level of interest in their line of work. With some help from The Hog’s Head Inn, a dog friendly hotel in Alnwick this article answers some of the big questions surrounding catering careers. But, what makes this industry an attractive one to work in and what is recruitment currently like in the sector? 

Why are catering careers so popular?

A job in catering can be an ideal fit for many modern lifestyles. It can bring flexible working hours, job security and an attractive salary. 

Even during times of economic hardship and political dismay, the catering industry continues to emerge unscathed. In fact, 61% of catering professionals found no change in footfall since Britain’s decision to leave the EU. 

Data analysed by IBISWorld, experts in market research and business information, concluded that with a workforce of over 28,000 there was an annual growth of 1 per cent in the catering market between 2013 and 2018. According to the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the market is predicted to continue growing at an annual rate of 1.9% until 2020. They determined that the sector was labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive, meaning it relies on its staff to operate effectively — great news and job security for those who are part of it. 

Further information was analysed and compared by Job-Site, CV-Library over the period 2017-2018. They determined that salaries were rising across the UK and the average salary in the catering sector was up by 2.8% to £24,570. 

Many catering employees enjoy being able to choose their own shifts, even if it does mean working longer hours. For example, shifts can often be swapped to meet personal errands and people can often choose between day and evening shifts. Max Moran, a freelance chef from Derby, said: “I enjoy my flexible career as a freelance chef, the money is good and the ability to pick where and when you work really suits my lifestyle.” 

Starting out in a catering job

Recruitment in the sector has adapted, and it is now accessible through various routes an example of this would be through recruitment agencies. Recruitment agencies have made a plethora of jobs in the catering sector become available and easy to apply for.  

Traditional progression by moving up the kitchen ranks is still possible, but other options are available for students seeking employment in catering. Casual Dining Group, for example, partnered with Remit Training in 2016 to deliver apprenticeships to its restaurants, focusing on servers, chefs and managerial positions.

New initiatives such as Lake District Hotels’ ‘Hotel Academy’ have been set up in recent years, to develop skills in fine dining for aspiring chefs. This academy includes a one-year programme with guaranteed employment and accredited qualifications. These aren’t standalone exceptions either, people are realising the potential in the catering industry. It’s clear to see that more is being invested in talented young people who have an interest in progressing in the market. 

Vocational catering courses are also regarded as an alternative to academic subjects in many colleges, as they provide real-life experience in the industry. Often, students can showcase their skills to the public with dining school restaurants, giving them a taste of what catering work is truly like. 

The catering industry has held its position as a valued form of employment. It offers a strong sense of job security for those who are part of it, due to its steady market growth and increase in average salary. New opportunities and investments in young people mean that the sector is becoming more accessible for those who may not have considered this type of role until now.