Staff working longer hours to help keep sector afloat

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Step change: there has been a power shift between employers and employees with staff now holding more of the cards, Bizimply says (image: Getty/FreshSplash)
Step change: there has been a power shift between employers and employees with staff now holding more of the cards, Bizimply says (image: Getty/FreshSplash)

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Hospitality employees are working six hours a week more than pre-pandemic levels, new figures have found.

Workplace management business Bizimply revealed staff are now working about 25 hours a week on average, against 19 hours before the coronavirus pandemic.

When split into segments, staff in food-led firms are working an average 28 hour week, compared to about 23 hours in wet-led businesses.

The data, which was based on data from hundreds of Bizimply customers across the UK and Ireland, also showed fine dining restaurants are typically asking staff to work 40 hour weeks.

Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw said: “Most operators have significant numbers of part-time employees, such as students or those juggling work with childcare commitments, so we expect to see the average hours worked to be eblow the typical full time tally of about 35 hours.

“However, it’s clear in food-led sectors, particularly more premium venues such as fine dining and hotels, the recruitment challenge is particularly acute.

“With experienced chefs and front of house staff in very short supply, operators are asking staff to put in longer shifts than ever.”

More active employees

Within the data, the number of active employees – those regularly undertaking shifts – has risen by more than a quarter (25%) compared to March 2020.

This followed official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) highlight the labour pool is smaller due to some older staff not returning into the workforce and a number of staff returning to the EU.

The labour shortage across the sector has meant employers are asking staff to work more hours to cover the recruitment issues, Bizimply stated.

Shaw added: “The figures showing more active employees than ever suggests there are winners and losers among operators in the battle to recruit the best staff.

“The fact employers using our workforce management system have increased their teams suggest flexibility is an important factor for employees."

Power shift

He said: “Our scheduling tools mean employees can offer team members flexibility and that can make all the difference in this seller’s market for employees with the right skills.

“Of course employers are also having to invest in improving pay, with upward pressure on wages at all levels, but it’s not just about the money.

“A student who wants extra time off in the run up to exams or a parent who needs their shift pattern to accommodate school holidays will go with the employer who has systems in place to accommodate their needs.”

However, operators have been urged to ensure teams are looked after with employers relying on staff even more so now. 

“The balance of power has shifted in hospitality and employees hold more of the cards. Employers will need to meet their staff’s expectation in terms of work-life balance as a quid pro quo for the extra commitment,” Shaw said.

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