Recruitment crisis costing sector £22bn a year

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Existential threat: leaders from across the sector have urged Government to recognise the severity of the sector's recruitment crisis (Credit:Getty/	PeopleImages)
Existential threat: leaders from across the sector have urged Government to recognise the severity of the sector's recruitment crisis (Credit:Getty/ PeopleImages)

Related tags Training Recruitment Government ukhospitality Bbpa Bii

Recruitment crisis is costing the hospitality industry £22bn a year according to a new survey conducted by trade bodies from across the sector.

The research also revealed the current vacancy​ rate for hospitality businesses stood at 11% compared with the UK average of 4%.

In order to tackle this crisis and ensure a “sustained talent pool”, trade bodies from across the sector have united in urging Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, to support the industry-wide recruitment campaign, Hospitality Rising​.

The joint statement from the British Beer, and Pub Association (BBPA​), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII​), UKHospitality (UKH​), the Institute of Hospitality and charity Springboard called for support from the Government to help change perceptions of working in the sector and encourage more people to take up fulfilling carers in hospitality.

Existential threat 

Imploring Stride to recognise the severity of the situation, the letter said: “The recruitment crisis currently facing pubs, restaurants, hotels, cafes, and bars across the UK is causing an existential threat to our industry.

“This is not a problem facing just one type of venue or hospitality business, it is a universal issue, and it is critical because brilliant, passionate people are the lifeblood of hospitality. 
“Since the pandemic, vacancies in our sector have rocketed, with many businesses now struggling to recruit the staff needed to simply keep trading day to day.

“Couple this with the current extreme cost​ of doing business and you have a perfect storm which will force many businesses to close​ for good without urgent intervention.”

Furthermore, data from a survey conducted by the BBPA, BII, UKH and Hospitality Ulster in Q3 this year showed 41% of pubs were running shifts with less front of house staff, 33% had reduced venue opening hours, 29% were simplifying their food and drink offering, 28% were running shifts with fewer back of house staff and 22% had even reduced the amount of days they were open.

Unlocking potential 

In addition, according to UKH, pre-pandemic the sector employed some 3.2m people while the BBPA estimated the UK's beer and pub industry adds £26.2bn a year to the economy.

This follows recent data from workforce management firm Fourth, which last week showed more staff were leaving​ the industry now than during the pandemic with 8.3% of the workforce having left between August and September, the highest percentage since March 2020.

As well as calling for public endorsement from Stride regarding Hospitality Rising, the groups have also previously called for the Government to help resolve the recruitment​ crisis by providing greater flexibility in the apprenticeship levy and increasing the number of youth mobility visas available to allow more people with the right skills to come to the UK.  

The statement continued: “Our industry is one of only a few that supports livelihoods and contributes to local economies in every single part of the UK, but we are being held back.

“We are already collaborating as a sector to demonstrate the dynamism of our businesses and the opportunity careers in hospitality offer, but we need the Government to help unlock our potential by ensuring there is a sustained talent pool available to support our businesses for the long term as well.” 

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