Time To Think Talent: Outcomes of the Premium Commodity

To Be Aspirational For All Levels Again

EP brought together senior players from across the hospitality industry to discuss and debate whether we need to look at talent development through new eyes. The lively conversation included views and insights from a range of industries including the army, law and education.

With many thanks to Upskill People for supporting this important campaign and Apex City of London for hosting, the conversation revolved around the need for an industry dialogue. During the session over breakfast, Chief Executives, MDs, Chairs, Chiefs of Staff and many more shared their views, insights and experiences.

Why now? The stats paint a picture:

  • Most Millennials do not believe that business leaders are committed to helping improve society (Deloittes)
  • 46% believe that progress depends on their social background (Social mobility Commission)
  • 49% of adults from the lowest socio-economic group receive no training at all after leaving school. (Adult Skills Gap)
  • Only 33% believe career progress is related to talent. (Social mobility commission)
  • ECO Research Council have reported that 8% of UK employees are enthused about their work, a 17% fall since 2012

In summary the outcomes were:

– There is a great need to allow talent to once again feel like they can aspire to be at the very top




– That Learning & Development needs to adapt to support different skillsets, mindsets and generations




– That the education system is having an impact, but industry must not use this as an excuse and do more to support talent coming through





At the core of the debate: why this change and how to adapt:

Social mobility is so frozen that it would take five generations for a poorer family in the UK to reach the average income. There needs to be more support for the lowest socio-economic group.

An example was given of the army who are adapting how they recruit. They primarily recruit the young bottom up. However, it was argued that diverse conditions are now needed today because of the change in generations. A ship today employs just a third of what it did just ten years ago and the biggest area for recruitment is now in cyber. This is fuelled by the young but also recruiting those from other industries.

It was argued that the UK is now in a post-industrial economy and that it needs to adapt to technology, self-service culture, the gig economy but also that business struggles to articulate its value to customers. This in turn plays a strong role in trust.

Most boards today complain about both the lack of new leaders breaking through and over the character of the emerging generations.

The Adult Skills Gap report shows that the poorest adults with the lowest qualifications are the least likely to access adult training – despite being the group who would benefit most. But it was also argued that there is less effective communication coming out of the industry and this is generating towards a lack of trust.

As well as the fear that businesses talk the talk when it comes to values that inspire younger generations but don’t walk the walk when they enter the business. As well as a fear that no one can speak up and say when a current leader isn’t doing a good job.

Are we investing enough into talent development? Research suggests that the invested levels have fallen by 50% in relative terms over the last twenty years from 2% of salaries to 1%. In comparison, German companies invest twice as much.

Change is being created by a growing concern in productivity and service levels. There is a rise of mental health issues, with 1 in 4 employees suffering a form of mental illness. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 suffer some form of depression, so personal wellbeing needs to be at the forefront.

It was argued that businesses must future proof their workforce and provide ways to learn and re-learn, as well as adapt to the pace of new technology.

Businesses are concerned that talent will leave their company within six to nine months, so they are either not focusing on development or ensuring that L&D starts in week one. By providing a great experience there is a hope that even if someone does go, they may gain further knowledge and experience and then return to the business. However, it was felt this was few and far between.

The stimulating conversation concluded with the feeling that strength will come from people who are able to aspire and feel valued. Learning and Development sits at the heart of this and what is needed is action. This is the beginning of the narrative and EP is delighted to be holding a series of these events this year.

Come and get involved

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