British hotels don't employ UK workers because they lack the basic skills required and are put off by hard work and unsociable hours, says the leader of a top UK hotel chain.
Mike Williams, group director for people and development at Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, says job seekers from the UK are not interested in applying to work in hotels, reports the Daily Telegraph.
This means that 60 per cent of the company's jobs in the UK are given to other EU workers, largely from Eastern European countries such as Latvia, Slovakia and Poland.
At a seminar on tackling UK youth unemployment run by the Westminster Employment Forum, Williams said that despite the hotel chain having over 100 vacancies, it was "struggling" to fill them.
"Often UK applicants don't want to take up the challenge because of its hard work and unsociable hours and that tends to put people off," he said, adding that there was a lack of inclination to start at the bottom and work.
Mr Williams was not available for further comment. But Hugh O'Shea, branch secretary of the Union for Hotel Workers, said that these statements were unfair. He told AOL Travel:
"There is no bar to any nationality developing the skills necessary. We believe that the hospitality industry bases its recruitment on a hunt and search for low wages that insult people's dignity."
Mr O'Shea said that many large UK hotel chains were taking increasing advantage of a 'loophole' which allows internationally recognised hotels to recruit "self-employed workers".
"I would like to invite Mr Williams to come and talk to 100 British hotel workers who are devoting their lives to the hotel industry and talk to them about attitude," he said.
Anyone interested in working for Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin can find out more here.