UKH ‘concerned’ as hospitality staff shortage hits record high

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Concerning stats: Staff shortage hits record high (Getty/ Gwengoat)
Concerning stats: Staff shortage hits record high (Getty/ Gwengoat)

Related tags Training ukhospitality

The hospitality sector is experiencing 83% more vacancies across the board compared to March to May 2019, according to today’s ONS figures which UKHospitality have dubbed “concerning”.

The sector has also created nearly 300,000 new jobs across the last 12 months, equal to one-in-three of all new jobs, the statistics also revealed, highlighting how the sector’s recovery was being thwarted by a staffing shortage.

UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls believed the figures showed the industry was continuing to return to growth and was attracting new people into the workforce.

“However,” she added, “high vacancy rates are impeding our ability to trade. This is particularly concerning as we enter the summer, a key trading period for much of the sector.”

Gov support needed

According to the figures, hospitality currently has 174,000 jobs available, a record high, in a climate where those economically inactive and wanting a job have fallen by about 130,000 over the same period.

Nicholls continued: “Last month UKH launched its Workforce Strategy in order to tackle this and we have set out a coherent plan to solve some of the issues, including working with colleges and universities to attract students into work this summer and demonstrating how flexible working will provide opportunities for carers – but we need Government support.

“The points-based system needs to be tweaked to make it easier for seasonal and lower skilled workers to enter the workforce and the apprenticeship levy should be freed-up to help us attract the workforce we need to recover and grow.”

Pubs across the country have taken a number of creative measures to tackle the recruitment crisis,​ including higher wages,​ birthdays off and £1 bed and breakfasts for staff.

Recruitment rewards

For the Chaser Inn​, the pay included a fixed salary of £30,000 to £32,0000, which when combined with tips, created the amount of £40,000 per year.  

The Chaser Inn general manager Duke Chidgey said he was having to raise his wages to be competitive. “It used to be that there was one job for one chef, whereas now it feels like there’s one job for 10 chefs,” he said. 

According to the manager, things had been “extremely tough” at the pub which was operating the same amount of business but with half the chefs it used to have.  

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