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Severe staff shortages dampen Freedom Day

Published:  20 July, 2021

The number of new job vacancies in the hospitality sector rose by almost 10% in the last seven days, according to new analysis by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

In total, there were 8,287 new live vacancies for hospitality jobs on job website Indeed, up by nearly 10% from 7,643 postings the previous week – highlighting acute staff shortages as the hospitality sector geared up for Freedom Day.

The total number of live hospitality vacancies sits at 43,819, which is 3% up over the last seven days, from 42,392.

“The combination of Brexit, Covid restrictions and the test and trace ‘pingdemic’ is putting acute pressure on the hospitality sector,” said Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM.

“We’ve finally reached Freedom Day, but any boost is being dampened as the sector struggles to find the staff as job vacancies jump 10% in the last week. In an industry that is so heavily dependent on people to deliver the best experience for consumers, the continued squeeze on the labour market will hits sales over the coming months,” he said.

At a time where consumer spending was still well below pre-pandemic levels, staff shortages would hamper any recovery for hospitality businesses, he added.

“With finances for many remaining on a knife edge, urgent action from the government is needed to consider relaxing visa barriers for hospitality workers to allow businesses to operate effectively.”

On the back of pubs and restaurants finding it difficult to recruit, there have been calls for government to step in and help attract workers to the industry. 

Moreover, UK Hospitality earlier this month unveiled a 12-point plan to tackle the staffing crisis facing the industry. 

Last month, leading City law firm Bates Well warned that staff shortages in the hospitality sector were set to hit crisis levels following the 30 June, when it will became more difficult to hire EU workers, as reported by Harpers.