The Business Leaders’ Survey from CGA and Fourth also showed high competition for employees with three fifths (59%) of those surveyed said they would recruit at a greater rate than usual this year – an increase of 13 percentage points since the last survey in December.
Furthermore, just half (52%) said they were confident about their recruitment and retention in the next 12 months.
In a bid to attract and keep talent, more than three quarters (77%) have offered better pay, increasing their levels by an average 11%.
A large number are also stepping up levels of communication with staff (85%), creating more learning opportunities (82%) and focusing on staff wellbeing and mental health (72%).
The survey also highlighted the impact of rises in the national minimum wage and national living wage from the beginning of April with two thirds (67%) citing it as a key challenge.
Fourth managing director EMEA Sebastien Sepierre said: “Recruitment continues to be a major challenge for the sector as it builds back after an extremely challenging two-year period.
“When it comes to labour, it’s more important than ever sector businesses are continuing to plan ahead, helping them to accurately manage demand and ensure they have the optimum number of staff across each and every shift.
“Technology can play a key role in helping businesses do this and also ensures they can hire, train, engage and retain workers, providing smart solutions to manage consumer demand accurately in these testing times.”
CGA Group CEO Phil Tate said the survey highlighted the level of concern the scramble for staff is causing across hospitality.
He added: “While there are some signs of improvement in the first quarter of 2022, major shortages and severe upward pressure on pay are likely to continue throughout the year.
“On top of other rising costs, supply issues, the end of VAT relief and fragile consumer confidence, it is yet another challenge to the recovery of the sector, which needs and deserves sustained support from [the] Government.”
Meanwhile, the survey also revealed the role of technology in engaging consumers and employees with two fifths (42%) of leaders stating technology was most useful for bookings and payment, 18% said for managing workforces and 14% for controlling inventories and stock.
However, just under a quarter (22%) believe their business is ahead of the market average while 25% think they are behind.