Job progression and community feel can help conquer recruitment crisis

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Staffing shortages: Tips to attract staff as vacancies soar (Getty/ alvarez)
Staffing shortages: Tips to attract staff as vacancies soar (Getty/ alvarez)

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Long-term progression, a sense of community and exciting perks are just a few things that will draw staff to pubs, according to co-founder of hospitality recruitment company James & Cranwell.

This comes after the accommodation and food services sector showed the largest rise in vacancies at 10,200 from April to June,​ with the industry currently dealing with 176,000 job vacancies in total.

According to Matthew Cranwell, whose company clients include the Tom Kerridge Group, staff had left the sector as a reaction to lockdown before furlough was introduced.

Additionally, he believed a lot of the workforce had returned to Europe post-Brexit while others had set up their own food carts or food delivery businesses. This meant was “increasingly difficult” to find people to work at pubs.

For Cranwell, attracting staff was all about providing an appealing place to work. He said: “It’s not just about taking your pay-check – you want to be made to feel part of a family, whether that's through benefits​ like staff meals or team days out.”

When recruiting younger staff, it was important to have a long-term career progression​ in place and also offer apprenticeships.

Lucrative industry

The purpose of this was to change the perception of hospitality as merely about pulling pints or waiting tables, because being a manager of a pub group could be very financially lucrative, said Cranwell.

Investing in staff training would benefit business as well as the employee, he added, as team members could be trained across different areas on-site.

Cranwell continued: “Recruits are also looking for a bit of excitement, so venues should offer something different to the employer, but also to their clients.

“If you're running something that has certain hooks, and it’s enjoyable, that's going to play a pivotal role in day-to-day business.”

While raising wages was attractive to staff, Cranwell believed there was other ways your pub could help its employee’s finances, at a time when soaring inflation rates​ and a cost-of-living crisis​ are squeezing household budgets.

Free meals on site could help with affordability, he advised. Providing and washing uniforms could also help staff keep costs down.

If offering on-site accommodation for chefs of front-of-house team members was viable, that could also make a massive difference to the employee.

Discounts and perks

Cranwell also said pub chains, or multi-site operators, could offer discounts across their sites for staff. This would be worthwhile for staff as would allow them to enjoy activities such as dinner with their family.

Covid was also a chance for many to re-evaluate their career, with chefs in particular quitting due to the long hours and lack of time that could be spent with family and friends.

However, said Cranwell, employers could counter this by offering a bit more time at home, reduced hours, time off as well as perks such as massages.

“The industry is going to recover,” said Cranwell, optimistic about the sector’s future. “We’ve already seen, over the last few months, that hotels, restaurants and pubs are packed again.

“Maybe this is slightly pre-inflation, but people are certainly out spending their money again. Naturally, that money that the pubs are recouping will allow them to employ and look after their staff.”

Cranwell started the luxury recruitment company with Warren James. The focus is on senior and mid-level positions within the pub, restaurant and hotel sector, with clients including the Tom Kerridge Group.

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