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Hospitality wages increase 14% due to staffing crisis

Published:  22 June, 2021

The staffing crisis in the hospitality sector is prompting pubs and restaurants to turn to temporary staff and has forced them to increase wages by as much as 14%, according to Indeed Flex, the online marketplace for flexible workers.

It said that while hospitality has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, it is now bouncing back as customers return to having a meal out or a drink with friends in the pub.

However, it said the decision to postpone ‘Freedom Day’ in England to 19 July is hitting the industry as venues are still obliged to provide table service only, which requires extra staff and limits the number of customers they can serve.

Recently fears of staff shortages after the pandemic and Brexit were highlighted by a survey by CGA and Fourth. It said that nine in 10 hospitality business leaders expected to face staff shortages this year with half (51%) of those responding to the poll anticipating shortages in all roles.  

Analysis of pub, bar and restaurant shifts posted on the Indeed Flex platform has revealed that temps willing to work at the weekend could benefit most from the rapidly rising wages. Average hourly pay for a weekend shift is now up 9% compared to this time in 2019.

Meanwhile, weekday pay rates have risen by an average of 5% across the UK, far exceeding the 1.8% rise in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2021. 

Indeed Flex data also reveals that businesses are paying more to attract the best people.

Pay increases vary around the country with Greater Manchester and Cheshire seeing the biggest increases in pay. Hourly rates for temporary workers there have risen by 11.15% for weekday hospitality staff, and by 13.87% for weekend workers compared to May 2019.

Pay growth has been weakest in Merseyside, where hourly rates increased by just 0.84% on average, and in London, where they are up by only 3.73%, the firm said.

Jack Beaman, CEO and co-founder of Indeed Flex, said: “The combination of booming demand from customers and the table service-only rule means thousands of pubs and restaurants need more staff - and fast. 

“But with bottlenecks holding up the supply of workers, forward-thinking businesses are increasingly turning to temporary staff to fill shifts, and raising wages to woo the best people.” 

This news comes as official Office of National Statistics (ONS) employment data revealed the food services and accommodation sector recorded the biggest spike in vacancies, up 265.5%, of any industry in March as lockdown restrictions first began to ease.

Indeed Flex used data from both the Government National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates and ONS  Vacancies and jobs in the UK: June 2021.