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Optimism among hospitality professionals dips

Published:  31 August, 2021

Optimism among hospitality professionals has dipped amid staffing challenges and safety concerns, according to a new survey by CGA and CPL Learning.

The research highlighted a need for employers to address the ongoing challenges facing hospitality teams to retain staff in the long-term, stating that while hospitality teams generally feel safe in the venues they work in, the reduction of restrictions has increased concern for safety for some.

Overall, confidence is high with three in four hospitality staff reporting that they feel “generally safe” in the venues they work in.

However, Freedom Day has reduced how safe some staff feel compared to when there were more stringent measures in place in October last year, with just one in five currently feeling comfortable working with no restrictions.

Moreover, this sentiment is mirrored by consumers with a drop in the proportion feeling safe in venues after Freedom Day, the research found.

The research also reiterated the current staffing issue, with nearly three quarters (72%) of survey respondents describing staff shortages as the number one challenge they have faced since reopening.

Worryingly, less than half (42%) of hospitality staff said that they planned to stay in the sector for more than five years, a drop of eight percentage points since January.

The sentiment is echoed in the number of hospitality professionals who would recommend working in the industry, with less than half (48%) reporting that they would, a drop of 13 percentage points from the previous year.

“Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the sector over the last year and half, and while there are short- and longer-term challenges to overcome, the industry is working hard to provide the much-needed support for employees and employers”, said Karl Chessell, director, hospitality operators and food, EMEA.

“Attracting and retaining staff, investing in development and showcasing the fantastic career opportunities hospitality can offer will be a key focus to help motivate, engage and keep employees in the long-term.”

The survey also revealed some of the reasons why the sector is struggling to attract and retain staff, with respondents rating unsociable hours (72%), pay (65%), lack of benefits (52%) and unpredictable shifts (43%) some of the biggest challenges of working in hospitality.

In relation to safety measures, staff said they would like to see enforced social distancing and increased hygiene procedures remain key, with over half showing a preference for staff and customers to continue wearing masks.