28 February 2018

Research reveals the misconceptions turning young Brits away from hospitality careers

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  • Less than a quarter (22%) of 16 to 21 year olds say they would consider a career in hospitality
  • One in three respondents believed it wasn’t a career you’d enter into after obtaining a degree
  • Over 40% admitted their perceptions were influenced by the attitudes of their parents
  • Research comes as IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group®) launches National Hotel Takeover aimed at tackling misconceptions about the Hospitality industry

New research has revealed that less than a quarter of young Brits would consider a career in hospitality, with almost one in three (26%) admitting they didn’t see it as an industry to work in after obtaining a degree.

The survey of 1,000 Brits aged 16 to 21, conducted by IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), found that young people were unaware of the full range of roles available in hospitality, even though flexible working hours (40%), career progression (36%) and the ability to travel (29%) rated as important factors in their ideal job – all of which are key features of a career in hospitality.

One in five respondents (19%) admitted they weren’t aware a career in hospitality could lead to roles that span design, engineering, finance, HR, law and marketing and more than a quarter (26%) thought working in a hotel mainly entailed dealing with a difficult guest.

The results also highlighted that young people were highly influenced by their parents, with 42% admitting their job choices reflected their parent’s perceptions of certain industries.

The research coincides with the launch of IHG’s National Hotel Takeover, whereby 1,000 hospitality students will assist in the running of 30 hotels across the country. Almost all the students participating are involved in IHG Academy programme, where IHG hotels collaborate with educational providers and community groups to help local people build their hospitality skills and improve their employability.

Elaine Grell, Vice President of Human Resources, Europe and Global Functions at IHG said; “These results highlight just how important it is that young people get real life, on-the-job experience so they can fully understand how varied and exciting a career in hospitality can be. A hotel is a complex business with responsibility for a large team and big budgets. Yet a lot of people make assumptions based on what they may see as they only see from a guest’s perspective. Initiatives such as the National Hotel Takeover are so important in giving young people a behind the scenes look at what’s involved in a business where the doors are open 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s also a great industry for career progression – our Global CEO Keith Barr started in a restaurant kitchen!”

James Ashall, Programme Director, Movement to Work said: “Today’s research from IHG highlights the gap that needs to be bridged by employers to reduce youth unemployment. There is more we should be doing to highlight the array of jobs available and the progress from those jobs into fulfilling careers. There are too many young people who fall into the seemingly endless circle of ‘no experience no job; no job no experience’, for a multitude of reasons, as employers through work placements we can provide the opportunities to help them gain confidence, break this cycle and fulfil their potential.”  

The National Hotel Takeover aims to give students practical, on-the-job insight into the industry. The students will take on roles including General Manager and Head of various Departments, including Head Chef. Running for 18 years, the Hotel Takeover has grown to become a key moment for IHG properties in the UK, providing valuable on the job training for the next generation of hoteliers.

IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel companies, currently have 331 hotels in the UK&I including Holiday Inn® hotels, Holiday Inn Express® hotels, Crowne Plaza® hotels, Hotel Indigo®, Staybridge Suites® and InterContinental® Hotels and Resorts.  

For further information, please visit www.ihgplc.com.

About IHG Academy:

IHG Academy offers education and skills training to local people, through local organisations and community groups.

By working with local communities and in partnership with others, IHG helps develop a pool of diverse, skilled, motivated and engaged people who are committed to providing the consistently great experience that guests expect.

All IHG Academy programmes operate together with local community organisations and/or education providers to offer participants real experience of working in a hotel or corporate office. Since 2013, we have provided skills and improved the employability to 47,962, surpassing our five-year target of 40,000 between 2013-2017.

Globally, there are 2,133 IHG Academy programmes in 79 countries. Since January IHG has trained 292 participants through IHG Academy across the UK.


For further information please contact:

Ciara Dixon
+1 (770) 604 2005

Iman Denney-Brown
+44 (0) 1895 512 267

About IHG®

IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo®, EVEN® Hotels, HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn®, Holiday Inn Express®, Holiday Inn Club Vacations®, Holiday Inn Resort®, avid™ hotels, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®.


IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,300 hotels and nearly 800,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with nearly 1,700 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG® Rewards Club, our global loyalty programme, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.   


InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 375,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally.


Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.ihgrewardsclub.com for more on IHG Rewards Club. For our latest news, visit: www.ihgplc.com/media and follow us on social media at: www.twitter.com/ihg, www.facebook.com/ihg and www.youtube.com/ihgplc.