Business leaders push wages up more than 10%

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Rising bills: the cost of wages continues to increase (image: Getty/MarioGuti)
Rising bills: the cost of wages continues to increase (image: Getty/MarioGuti)

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Rising wage bills are putting added pressure on the nation’s top managed hospitality firms despite labour shortages beginning to ease, new research has revealed.

The 2023 Business Leaders’ Survey from CGA by NIQ and Fourth showed 9% of roles are currently empty and open for application.

This is a drop of two percentage point since the last survey in October 2022. However, the rate of churn – the proportion of staff leaving a company in the past three months – has slipped slightly to 16% (down three percentage points).

Furthermore, just a third (33%) of those surveyed said they felt confident about their ability to recruit.

Wages bills are putting more pressure on businesses with firms increasing pay by 12% for new staff and 11% for existing in the past 12 months – ahead of the rate of inflation.

Retention tools

The research went on to show more than half (57%) of leaders stated creating the right working culture has been an effective tool in improving retention.

Moreover, a high level of communication with team members (41%), a focus on staff wellbeing and mental health (33%) and creating learning and development opportunities (33%) have also been impactful.

Fourth managing director EMEA Sebastien Sepierre said: “While the pressures related to labour shortages might be starting to ease, it is apparent workforce-related challenges are very much continuing to keep operators awake at night.

“The fact only a third of business leaders feel confident about recruitment right now indicates the importance of retaining existing members of staff and keeping them motivated.

“Technology plays a pivotal supporting role here, helping businesses to forecast demand as accurately as possible, enabling them to optimise their workforce planning so they are best placed to combat the issues present during this challenging period.

“This, in turn, makes it easier for businesses to hire, onboard, engage and retain team members, helping them to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

No room for complacency

CGA director of hospitality operators and food EMEA Karl Chessell described the sector’s hard work on recruitment and retention as “encouraging” and said it was beginning to pay off.

He added: “However, with thousands of jobs still vacant, wages rising sharply and the cost-of-living crisis hitting consumer spending, there is no room for complacency.

“Hospitality is one of the UK’s most dynamic industries for job creation and it can kickstart the economic recovery but first, it needs targeted Government support on labour shortages and cost challenges.”

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