Job applications for chef roles on the rise while hospitality industry sees drop in hirings by 25% in 2020


New data from AI-powered recruitment platform Occupop reveals significant 30% increase in competition for chef positions as COVID-19 impact reverses chef shortage

IRELAND – A new report from leading recruitment software company Occupop has today revealed the major impact of this year’s COVID-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry, indicating a return to pre-COVID levels of activity during the late summer months, including a surplus of applications for chef roles in the food and beverage sector. 

Occupop’s new data indicates some developments for the food and beverage sector, which has been plagued by chef shortages over the past decade. Despite continued shortages, a series of new apprenticeship programmes has resulted in slow but steady growth in recent years, contributing in part to a 30 percent increase in job applications for chef roles as reported by Occupop, jumping to over 6,500 applications this year. 

This increase comes amidst a year otherwise marked by anticipated industry decline, with a 25 percent decrease in overall hires for hospitality jobs due to COVID-19 lockdowns. Occupop notes an expected sharp decline in available jobs between March and June, followed by a steady increase across both hires and job applications prior to the onset of further restrictions in October.   

In spite of the decline, Occupop’s report reveals that the impact of this year’s first extended lockdown may not be as dramatic as anticipated, highlighting a swift u-turn demonstrated by the data. With the year’s peak in hiring falling in February prior to Ireland’s first lockdown, the sector was left with a surplus of candidates available to work following the lifting of government restrictions. 

The new data further reveals which sectors within the hospitality industry performed best in terms of hires throughout the year:

  • Food and beverage: 45.5 percent 
  • Housekeeping: 22.3 percent
  • Front of House: 16.5 percent

Coinciding with the reopening of the sector in Q3, the months of July to September were subsequently the top months for job applications in the industry since February. Occupop further reports that chef job applications in the months of July and August were double that of 2019. With hospitality now reopening for the month of December, these trends seen earlier in the year are likely to recur as the sector makes the most of the surplus of potential employees. 

The data indicates that the practice of social recruiting remains a crucial element in securing candidates today, with a large number of applicants reportedly using LinkedIn this year in search of hospitality roles. Previously associated largely with corporate roles, the platform is becoming a more accessible tool across sectors. Since partnering with Facebook Jobs, Occupop has additionally seen a 100 percent increase in applications made through the social networking site. 

Commenting on the findings of the latest Occupop report, Occupop co-founder David Banaghan said: 

“Our hospitality data reflects the hit the industry took following the outbreak of COVID-19, but also presents a hopeful picture of how it might survive, given the high numbers of new hires and returnees to the sector in Q3 this year when the first lockdown had been eased. As we enter another new post-lockdown phase, the hope is that the industry will follow a similar pattern once more.”

Occupop is an all-in-one recruitment solution that enables companies to attract, manage and hire the highest quality job applicants. To date, Occupop has helped over 150 businesses manage their recruitment, including companies such as Hertz, Beacon Hospital, DPS, Ainscough Crane Hire, Flo Gas and more.


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