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Recruitment crisis in the hospitality industry

  • by JW

More than 10% have left the industry – with Brexit, the pandemic and rising house prices blamed.

Hospitality firms were also now having to pay more to employ staff.


This evening, BBC Spotlight looked at the plight of the tourism and hospitality industry.

It is apparently “crying out for people” with the situation over recruitment “absolutely dire” and “ the worst they have ever seen”. More than 10% have left the industry – with Brexit, the pandemic and rising house prices blamed. Chefs and other staff have found other jobs with more sociable hours and on similar pay.

A lot are younger staff haven’t had their jabs yet and others are put off returning to hospitality as it has been open and closed several times over the last year – all of which means that hotels and restaurants can’t find enough kitchen and waiting staff.

Victoria Graham, interviewing Kate Nicholls, CEO at UK Hospitality, suggested that there should be a change in focus – from always being on the customer – and not the staff.

Ms Nicholls responded by saying that the challenge is to make sure the dates are certain for reopening – and that the government needs to give those reassurances.

However, Ms Graham suggested that many feel it’s more secure to stay on furlough – and don’t have the confidence to go back into hospitality.

Ms Nicholls admitted that meanwhile, it is a challenge to “get the foreign workers” back, and that the gig economy will have to change to make it more secure, with the promise of good quality local jobs, training and “rapid career progression”.

BBC iPlayer – Spotlight – Evening News: 30/04/2021


But this is not just happening in the South West – as reported last week from Wales:


Recruitment crisis in Welsh hospitality could hold back economic recovery from pandemic

A combination of uncertainty on reopening and workers leaving for other sectors is impacting efforts to build up teams of staff

With the numbers unemployed rising and jobs lost in their thousands in the hospitality sector it was expected that workers would be struggling to find new roles in 2021. But instead it is businesses in hospitality and tourism who are reporting problems with recruitment – with some warning it could impact their ability to fully trade this year.

There are various reasons being reported including uncertainty over the pandemic hit sectors with no definite reopening date for indoor tourism and hospitality in Wales, and workers previously made redundant moving to other industries. Brexit has also impacted on the ability of some businesses to bring in workers from the EU while some people who would normally be looking for new opportunities are on furlough…

Recruitment crisis in Welsh hospitality could hold back economic recovery from pandemic – Business Live


And from today in Jersey:


Hospitality ‘wage war’ amid Brexit and Covid challenges

HOSPITALITY firms are in the grip of a ‘wage war’ as they fight to attract staff in a labour market that has been decimated by Covid and Brexit, an industry leader has said.

Simon Soar, chief executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association, said that the shortage in labour was the worst it had ever been. ‘Staff are prepared to move for a wage increase, so there are issues with staff retention and they are moving for literally pennies in some cases. We are seeing wages go up to levels a lot higher than they have ever been and doing so very quickly. I saw one restaurant offering over £14 per hour for a kitchen porter the other day – you just do not get that. That is because they are desperate and cannot find anyone. Previously it could have gone up to around £10 at some places. Very rarely would it have gone above that. It is staggering.’

Mr Soar said that there was no quick fix to the problems and that, post-Brexit, hospitality firms were also now having to pay more to employ staff from outside the Common Travel Area.

He added that businesses struggling to find staff might have to start looking at altering their operations to cope – with shorter opening times, a restricted offering and whether they are able to operate in any capacity among some of the considerations.

Hospitality ‘wage war’ amid Brexit and Covid challenges | Jersey Evening Post


Finally, the hospitality industry is clearly fed-up – as this extraordinary and very pointedly political piece from the otherwise very professional trade magazine suggests (and their opinions are theirs, simply reported by the VGS):


Why hospitality should give “a monkey’s” about Boris’ behaviour

The workings of Downing Street throughout the Covid-19 pandemic are being ever more closely focused on through our reporting, as hospitality has never previously been so impacted by them.

Why does this matter to hospitality some may ask themselves. It matters because questions are growing around billions of pounds of tax payer money being spent on ‘Fast-Track VIP PPE contracts’ procured by government without due diligence being applied… 

That money, if it were squandered, could have been spent on providing more much needed support for hospitality.

Johnson’s recent comments that the public “don’t give a monkey’s” about the Downing Street leak row underestimates the public’s moral compass.

Why hospitality should give “a monkey’s” about Boris’ behaviour – Hospitality & Catering News


photo: Restaurant Employee Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures