Plea for Gov help as vacancies continue to hurt sector

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Sector’s potential: the Women’s World Cup final showed how the on-trade can perform strongly when it has enough staff (credit: Getty/FG Trade)
Sector’s potential: the Women’s World Cup final showed how the on-trade can perform strongly when it has enough staff (credit: Getty/FG Trade)

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Trade bodies have united to call on the Government to help fill jobs in hospitality if the boost given to the trade by the Women’s World Cup final last weekend is to continue.

Research from CGA and cited by the British Institute of Innkeeping, UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and Hospitality Ulster found hospitality businesses saw a 33% increase in sales during the World Cup final, despite ongoing staff shortages.

It also discovered 61% of hospitality businesses are experiencing staff shortages with almost 40% reducing trading hours. Of those, hours have reduced by up to 74% midweek and 42% at the weekend. That loss of trading has seen two thirds report a sales decline of up to 25%.

Chefs remain the most difficult position to recruit, with up to 79% of respondents experiencing chef vacancies. Businesses also have high levels of vacancies for front of house staff (70%), kitchen porters (59%), brewery staff (57%) and housekeeping (52%).

The data follows reporting that the Government is seeking to expand the ‘Youth Mobility Scheme’ to other countries, which hospitality bodies are supportive of.

Call to expand ‘list’

In addition, the sector continues to call for the ‘Shortage Occupation List’ to be expanded and for wider reform of skills and training, with a particular focus on addressing economic inactivity.

In a joint statement the trade bodies said: “We saw during the World Cup final last weekend just what hospitality can deliver.

“The sector saw a huge 33% uplift in sales, even as this new data shows that almost two thirds of venues are running short of staff.

“Just think what we can deliver if our pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels were able to recruit the positions they need.

“If you have hospitality running at full capacity, you’ll no doubt see the sector generate rapid economic growth; creating thousands of jobs and supporting local communities.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that with 60% of businesses unable to adequately recruit, they have had no choice but to curtail their trading.”

Massive blow

It continued: “This is a massive blow for businesses, which need sales more than ever to contend with rising costs, and it’s a huge detriment to the local community that looks to hospitality as places to meet, socialise and take a much-needed break.

“Which is why it’s frustrating that we have seen little progress in addressing these shortages and our local pubs, restaurants, hotels, to name a few, continue to plead for a better recruitment environment, particularly from overseas.

“Despite the enormous investment and time the sector is putting in to develop its own talent, through apprenticeships and training, there is an immediate need to address shortages now.

“This data demonstrates that urgent need and it’s clear the Government recognises this as an issue, but solutions have not been forthcoming.

“We would urge the Government to widen the Youth Mobility Scheme and Shortage Occupation List as a starting point to solve recruitment woes, in addition to wider reform of skills and training.”

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