Hospitality favours Hospitality favours older ‘loyal’ workers

Nearly half (41%) of business owners in the retail, hospitality and catering sector would choose to recruit an older worker than a younger candidate with exactly the same skills and experience, according to new research.

In a national survey, more than a third of 1,000 SME business owners (36%) said that they would sooner recruit a 55-year-old than a 24-year-old, with 41% of business owners in the retail, hospitality and catering sector saying the same. Less than a fifth (19%) of business owners preferred a 24-year-old with the same CV.

One of the issues raised by business leaders about so-called ‘snowflake’ and ‘Millennial’ employees included ‘lower productivity’ and ‘higher absence rates’, instead preferring ‘loyal’ older employees, according to data gathered by healthcare provider Benenden Health.

The study found that more than half of Generation Z employees felt they have been overlooked for roles due to their age compared to 47% of Millennials, 29% of Generation X and a third of Baby Boomers. More than a third of employees felt they had been overlooked for a job due to their age.

The study also found health packages are starting to command increasing importance for employees, with almost half (46%) of all respondents in the hospitality sector saying a strong health and wellbeing benefit would increase their likelihood to join or stay with a business. Nationally, Generation Z employees revealed they would be willing to sacrifice a third of their salary to receive a healthcare package that fits their personal needs.

Yet, despite this, as many as 87% of SMEs surveyed in retail, hospitality and catering reported that they don’t have a healthcare package in place for employees above statutory allowances.

Nationally, younger workers revealed that they place value on mental health support, counselling sessions and life skill lessons, whereas older generations said regular medical checks and flexible working were top of their list of potential healthcare benefits.

HELEN SMITH, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER OF BENENDEN HEALTH, COMMENTED: “Younger generations told us that mental health support is of great importance to them, but these priorities change over time. Generation X workers often have the dual commitment of looking after children and parents so flexible working is valued by them, and with employees working longer than ever, ensuring your older workers are catered for as well, through regular eyesight and hearing tests, and ergonomic offices, for example, is vital to maintaining a strong modern workforce.”

To download Benenden Health’s guide to managing the needs of a multigenerational workforce, go to: https://www.benenden. co.uk/health-through-your-life