Hospitality employee expectations – what are candidates looking for in 2023?

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

Article updated for 2023

Do you know what potential candidates are looking for when applying for roles at your pub, bar, restaurant or hotel? Employee expectations have changed over the years; some having occurred as the hospitality industry has evolved, and others in reaction to major events.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand current employee expectations in order to attract and retain great people. Here we discuss some of the key things employees are looking for in the current climate.

Opportunity to progress 

For years many people have seen hospitality roles as temporary. Why? Mainly because career progression is not being promoted well enough. So potential candidates aren’t aware of the opportunities available to them and as a result, don’t see hospitality jobs as being long term.

By highlighting the opportunity for career advancement within your hospitality business, you will automatically appeal to more, and potentially better, candidates; those who want to grow with your business. Whether that’s moving up the ladder to a more senior position, or expanding their knowledge and skills in some way. 

Promoting training and progression opportunities both externally and internally will help you to retain existing employees and attract those who want to learn new skills and excel in a hospitality role.


There’s a lot to be said for giving your team autonomy, and it’s something more and more employees are looking for. Trusting your team to work in a way that suits them and make decisions that impact the running of the business, will provide them with a greater sense of responsibility. So on that note, here are a few ways you can offer autonomy to your team: 

  1. Give them the freedom to ‘treat’ your customers. 
    If they feel it’s appropriate to offer a free drink to a customer, then why not give them the flexibility to do so?
  2. Let them pick the music played in your pub, bar, restaurant or hotel. 
    They’re the ones listening to it all day and they’re the ones most able to gauge customers’ reactions, so let them be DJ.
  3. Ask for their input  
    Your team is on the front line so will be able to give you feedback from customers that you wouldn’t otherwise hear; as well as offering suggestions on things such as events or offers you could run

These are just a few examples of how you can give your employees autonomy, but point 3 might be the best place to start. Ask your team what they want control over and go from there.  

Access to the right technology

From handheld ordering and contactless payments, to efficient rota building and online reservations; hospitality workers are recognising how tech can help both make their lives easier and enable them to work more efficiently. This in turn is making access to the right technology highly sought after by hospitality workers. And now so more than ever. With staff shortages at a record high, technology can make a big difference in helping your team work efficiently if and when employee availability is limited.

For more on the importance of technology for you, your employees and your customers, visit our blog where we outline all the key benefits of using technology.


As is the case with employees in many other sectors, job flexibility has become more and more important over the years. Although there’s only so much flexibility you can give those working in hospitality (obviously having your bartender or chef working from home is out of the question), there are certainly things you can do. Primarily job seekers are looking for roles that enable them to have a good work-life balance. Here are few things you can offer in order to give your employees the flexibility they’re looking for:

  • Choice over shifts 
  • Option of split Parental Leave
  • Time off in lieu 

Whatever you decide, promote it internally and externally in order to both increase employee retention and attract new talent. 

Good communication 

Good communication has become more and more important over the years, with it now being expected of employers. Whether it’s updating employees on changes in legislation, general company updates or just keeping them in the loop, communication is key. 

Employers with excellent communication skills have become highly regarded by those working in hospitality. In fact, it’s a key player in employee retention, with effective communication increasing employee retention by 4.5 times, compared to businesses that lack effective communication in the workplace.

Other benefits 

Last but not least, are there any other benefits you can offer your employees? Think private health care, paid holiday, team events, staff discount or even share options in your business. Those little extras can make all the difference to your employees.

Anything we’ve missed?

Is there anything else you’ve found your employees asking for? If so, let us know at so we can add to this blog. We’d love to share your experiences with others in the industry!

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