Hospitality Rising get green light to raise £5m fund to support industry jobs drive


Hospitality Rising has won official support from the Hospitality & Tourism Sector Skills Board (HTSB) to be the strategic face of the industry’s biggest ever recruitment campaign – as latest figures show there are currently 400,000 vacancies in hospitality, revealing the extent of the crippling jobs crisis.

The HTSB will work into the joint Government and industry initiative, the newly-created Hospitality Sector Council.

The endorsement makes Hospitality Rising the official industry response to the recruitment crisis.  It is the first time the industry has pulled together to drive a national campaign of this nature. It means that Hospitality Rising – the brainchild of senior marketer Mark McCulloch – has won the backing of representatives of the whole spectrum of hospitality businesses, including UKHospitality, the BII, and the British Beer and Pub Association.

The latest stamp of approval follows support from a host of leading employers. Pret A Manger is the latest to confirm their endorsement and joins a number of other top firms, including Athenaeum, Buzzworks, DRG, Hawksmoor, Hilton, The Pig Hotel & Limewood Group, Punch Pubs, Rosa’s Thai, Wahaca, Welcome Break, and more.

The official recognition of Hospitality Rising effectively sounds the starting gun on a concerted industry-wide fundraising effort for the campaign, launched by ex-Pret A Manger marketer McCulloch in 2021.

Organisers led by McCulloch, who will now move to the role of Campaign Director reporting to the HTSB, plan to raise up to £5m.  They are encouraging employers across the industry to invest in the campaign, pledging just £10 per employee.

Commenting on the new official status of Hospitality Rising, McCulloch said, “To be approved as the industry’s official campaign and response to the recruitment crisis is amazing. It means we can really accelerate what we are doing with Hospitality Rising – we can now go stratospheric.

“We see this approval as a call to action for industry colleagues to come together and get behind the campaign, not just emotionally but, importantly, financially too, as we seek to build a campaign war-chest.  This will allow us to drive our message out to the UK public, tell all our fabulous stories and make hospitality a positive career choice for the very many, not the few.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality, said: “The campaign cannot come soon enough.  Our latest research shows the issues of recruitment and skills are absolutely mission-critical to the hospitality and tourism sectors. Many of our members are struggling with a significant level of vacancies; this campaign will enable hospitality to stage a vital intervention, and turn on a generation to the rich and varied roles and career pathways that our vibrant industry offers.”

UKHospitality figures show that there are 400,000 vacancies across the hospitality sector and a further 100,000 staff absences, meaning that day-to-day the industry is missing half a million workers; more than 20% of the workforce.

McCulloch, who has also held senior marketing roles at Barclaycard,, and YO! Sushi, and now heads brand and marketing consultancy Supersonic Inc, has already assembled an unrivaled cast of leading creative minds from top agencies.  Under the auspices of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, they include Google’s lead creative agency Forever Beta and VCCP, whose clients include O2 and Compare The Market, plus world-renowned behavioural economist Rory Sutherland and ex-Army lead recruitment brand strategist Matt Waksman, who both work at Ogilvy.  PR consultancies The Fourth Angel and Tigerbond are also offering their talent and team to the campaign.

Hospitality Rising has already secured north of £350,000 in pre-launch seed funding and intends to now raise a multi-million fund of up to £5m to create and launch the campaign.