The chef shortage could be easily resolved if Britain’s immigration laws were relaxed, according to a new report.
Research, conducted by recruitment firm The Change Group, showed that only a third of applications for top chef roles in London are from Britain. This number falls to a fifth for chef de partie jobs.
EU workers make up more than half of the applications for chef jobs in London, according to BigHospitality. However, only 14% are currently from non-EU migrants.
Craig Allen is the Change Group Director. He explained that although hospitality is viewed as an industry open to migrant workers, company figures show otherwise. “There is not enough British talent applying for chef careers and the number of skilled applicants from the EU isn’t enough to meet the demand. We need to attract more skilled migrants from other countries to bridge the gap. To do this, we need to change immigration policy.
“By reviewing immigration laws relating to skilled migrants, we could encourage freer movement of chef talent which in turn would support growth UK hospitality industry. This could also have a direct impact on income from UK tourism which is vital to the economy as highlighted recently by David Cameron.”
The survey by The Change Group asked chefs for suggestions. These included better investment in work experience programmes (39%) and building a positive image for these careers in hospitality (35%).
It appears work-life balance is also an issue as a quarter of respondents said they are looking for work elsewhere in search of a better quality of life.