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Recruitment and retention ‘huge’ concerns for hospitality

Published:  03 June, 2021

Fears of staff shortages after the pandemic and Brexit, plus challenges in keeping post-furlough teams productive have come out as key concerns for hospitality business leaders. 

Nine in 10 hospitality business leaders expect to face staff shortages this year, according to the latest Business Confidence survey from CGA and Fourth, with half (51%) of those responding to the poll anticipating shortages in all roles, while 39% said they were concerned about back of house roles only. 

Moreover, the Survey shows half (51%) of leaders have found that the reduced recruitment pool has been a bigger issue than they anticipated since restrictions began to ease.

Nine in 10 (88%) employers now expect to hire staff this year — half (44%) of them to a greater extent than expected — while just 4% are confident they will not need any new recruits. 

Although two thirds (67%) of leaders remain confident about their ability to recruit, retain and train staff, there is likely to be intense competition for available labour in the coming months, increasing the pressure on businesses to keep hold of team members," said CGA.

“It’s already apparent that recruitment and retention are going to be huge concerns for hospitality over the remainder of 2021,” said Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA.

“Post-Brexit shortages had been expected for some time, but Covid-19 has multiplied the difficulties and many businesses are already facing a staffing crisis at the worst possible time,” he said.

Sebastien Sepierre, MD – EMEA, Fourth, added: “The survey paints a very stark picture of the staffing crisis currently facing the hospitality industry. We know from our data that the number of EU workers in the UK hospitality workforce fell by 4% when comparing the first quarter of 2021 with 2019. 

“This, coupled with a 12% reduction in new starters from EU countries over the same period, has exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on the workforce, generating the most challenging recruitment market in recent memory.”

The survey also highlighted a concern about drops in staff productivity, with nearly half (47%) of business leaders saying that improving employee productivity will be a major focus for their business in 2021. A mere 4% are unconcerned about the issue.  

Ahead of full reopening, a previous Business Confidence survey showed that 79% of leaders were optimistic about prospects for the eating and drinking out market – the highest level for just over six years.

UK Hospitality today announced that it has joined forces with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) to launch a Jobcentre Plus initiative to promote sector opportunities to jobseekers.