Trade leaders have urged employers to drive up pay and improve working conditions in a bid to tackle the problem of high staff turnover.
Speaking at the launch of the Springboard UK Careers Festival 2001, due to take place from October 15 to 22, Guy Hands - chairman of this year's festival and managing director of pub owner Nomura Principal Finance - said that poor living conditions and staff pay were contributing to low morale among pub workers.
"This industry has a very high turnover of staff of around 70 per cent," Mr Hands said.
"Another problem is that there are fewer people leaving school. Fifteen years ago there were 4.5 million school leavers, last year this figure was 2.5 million."
He said that pub businesses had to look at how to encourage more people into the industry and how to keep existing staff happy and motivated.
"In the States a company conducted a survey of employers and found that the average cost to employ a person stood at £12,000, the cost of getting another employee was £14,000," Mr Hands added.
"It costs more for employers to recruit new staff. They could save this money and keep their existing staff by investing extra cash in staff benefits."
Anne Walker, managing director of Springboard UK, and Lesley Reynolds, managing director of sponsor Portfolio International, added their voices to the calls for improving standards.
They said that among other concerns, long working hours and the lack of dignity that staff in the hotel, leisure and tourism industries were given sometimes lead to the sector having a poor public image.