Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Hospitality leaders fight to recruit and retain staff as labour shortages bite

Published:  04 October, 2021

One in six (16%) hospitality jobs currently lie vacant, triggering intense competition among firms to recruit and retain team members, the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth has said.

The survey highlights the industry’s mounting labour crisis, with 96% of business leaders now envisaging shortages in either front or back of house roles, and nearly three quarters (73%) in both.

Fewer than one in five (18%) leaders feels confident about their recruitment and retention over the next 12 months. This is down from the 67% who felt confident in the last Business Confidence Survey just three months ago.

Three in five (59%) leaders now anticipate hiring staff at a greater rate than usual this year – up by 15 percentage points from the last survey.

The shortage of staff is prompting business leaders to step up efforts to attract and keep hold of staff. Three quarters said this has meant they have offered better pay (76%) and stepped up their levels of communication (75%) as part of their retention strategies. Two-thirds revealed that they have tried to cultivate the right working culture (67%) and support staff wellbeing and mental health (66%).

The issue with labour has been further hit by absences, with leaders reporting that an average of 6% of staff are currently in isolation and unable to work.

The use of pay as a retention tool is rapidly inflating wage bills across the hospitality sector, which already faces mounting food, drink, supply and utility costs, the survey said.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA said: “Thousands of businesses are now critically short of staff, while many of those who have sufficient labour face a fight to keep hold of it.

“Gaps at front and back of house and fast-rising wage costs threaten to derail the industry’s recovery, and sustained, targeted government support is now urgently needed to tackle the problem.”

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director for EMEA, Fourth, added: “Hospitality is nothing without people and the sector is in a desperate battle to find the staff it needs to rebuild after a devastating 18 months. With the right business landscape, hospitality has the potential to drive the UK’s economic recovery. But the current operational environment is extremely tough and these results lay bare the workforce challeAnges senior leaders must solve, especially in light of the key festive trading period on the horizon.”