Security shortage: Sector in desperate need of door staff

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Recruitment crisis: Pubs and nightclubs are in desperate need of more door staff (Getty/mikeinlondon)
Recruitment crisis: Pubs and nightclubs are in desperate need of more door staff (Getty/mikeinlondon)

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The sector desperately needs a “boost” in security staff, as the shortage of door workers worsens due to the cost of living crisis, festival season and fears of further closures, according to Get Licensed.

This comes after recent research from the Night Time Industries Association​ (NTIA) and UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) revealed three-quarters (75%) of pubs and bars felt a shortage of security staff was impacting their ability to protect the public.

According to Get Licensed chief executive Shahzad Ali, the shortage had begun during the pandemic, and the problem was increasing.

The shortage of door staff, combined with the cost of living crisis, meant pub or club owners were reducing opening hours or moving ‘last call’ hours forward according to Ali, with the NTIA survey revealing 19% of operators felt a shortage of security staff was limiting trading hours.

He said while there were around 250,000 licensed security door staff in the UK, not all of them were ‘active’ with many moving on during the pandemic to find other sources of work.

More issues ahead

The NTIA survey, which had 103 respondents representing more than 2,000 individual businesses, also revealed 60% of operators felt the shortage was impacting public confidence​ to go on nights out with 10% feeling as though they were unable to operate.

Furthermore, 57% of respondents stated they felt the quality of door staff was ‘poor’ while 77% felt the upcoming summer and festival season would further affect resources as many experienced security staff were expected to be diverted to festivals.

Ali agreed summer festivals could add to the shortage, and also believed many staff were reluctant to return to their roles as had fears of further closures.

Furthermore, Ali continued, the cost of living crisis was now influencing customer retention at pubs, restaurants and beyond with many businesses reporting fewer visitors. This has also impacted the demand for staff.

“It has always been hard to hire within the sector, but with Brexit, Covid and the cost of living, it has never been harder,” he said.

Industry desperate for staff

The general interest in security-related positions has dropped by 8% despite an almost 50% increase in new roles on recruiting website, and a 5.1% year-on-year increase in pay, according to a recent report.

“The industry desperately needs a boost in security staff to keep standards high, keep businesses functioning smoothly, and ensure that people stay safe on a night out,” Ali concluded.

This comes as one in six students said they have previously had their drink spiked​​ at a nightlife venue, with 80% believing venues were not doing enough to reduce the risk of spiking, according to the third edition of Stint’s​​ The Students Sentiment Tracker.

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “We are simply running out of time: the sector has been raising the alarm about security resource concerns for the last few years and we are only now slowly starting to engage with the Government on this crisis.

“The summer is approaching very quickly, and we need Government intervention to remedy the situation before we are potentially subject to another tragedy where lives are lost, and we are left to take action retrospectively.”

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