Hospitality ‘facing worst ever recruitment crisis’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Official figures: Empty job roles in the trade are the second highest of all sectors (image: Getty/alvarez)
Official figures: Empty job roles in the trade are the second highest of all sectors (image: Getty/alvarez)

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Empty job roles in the sector have reached 151,000 according to official statistics, which as been labelled as the trade’s “worst ever recruitment crisis”.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed the UK had a record high 1.17m job vacancies in the three months to October with hospitality recording the second highest number of roles available. This was up from 139,000 in the previous quarter.

However, a report from Bizimply and consultancy Hospitality Mavericks revealed one in five businesses are taking no steps to recruit and retain team members.

Stark indicator

Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw said: “The ONS figures are a stark indicator of the challenges that hospitality operators are facing. Not only are most businesses running with vacancies, but experienced hospitality staff are being courted by other employers. People want to feel valued, and will move on quickly if they don't.

"The reality is that those operators who have previously seen staff as a commodity to be replaced whenever necessary, rather than an asset to be retained and invested in, will have to adopt a different approach.

"That doesn't just mean salary, although the UK government has made it clear that hospitality employers are expected to meet the upward pressure on wages. It also means investing in training and career development, and understanding that part time staff, such as students and single parents, have commitments other than work."

Technology is key

The Fragile to Agile: How to Navigate the New Era of Hospitality ​report also found a fifth (21%) were increasing pay and 10% were improving staff benefits.

Almost a third (32%) were increasing their training and development and about one in 10 (11%) were looking to change working patterns.

Shaw added: “These figures show fewer than half of employers are taking any steps at all to address working conditions. Our report also found that only 34% of employers recognise that implementing new technology can improve employees' experience and job satisfaction.

"Of course, hospitality businesses face challenges other than staffing, such as property costs, compliance and rising supply side inflation, but ultimately it's people that give a business the edge over the competition. Technology that frees up front-line staff to deliver great customer service, is key."  

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