Hospitality has the largest staff shortfall of all UK sectors and a widening skills gap – including a declining number of catering college students and ‘home-grown’ qualified recruits. The industry has a strong reliance on migrant workers, and with Brexit expected to bring tighter immigration rules, there are concerns that these issues will grow.
The Institute for Hospitality’s Spotlight on Hospitality report has argued that the reported staff shortages are not entirely Brexit related, and that this was an issue prior to the referendum due to a lack of training and a perception that hospitality is a stop-gap role.
But with the overseas workforce set to become harder to access, businesses need contingency plans that consider how the quality of service currently being delivered can be maintained to ensure any negative impacts to the bottom line are minimised.
A new hospitality industry research report, Preserving the ‘Art of Hospitality’: Championing the Industry for Post-Brexit Survival, has found that an overwhelming 97% of hospitality business owners and those in management positions expect a shortfall in staff following Brexit – hampering the UK’s ability to continue servicing customers to the current high standards.
To make matters worse, more than one-in-ten hospitality managers are expecting to employ fewer people as a result of a ‘hard’ Brexit. Serving staff roles are the most at risk, according to 80% of professionals, with hotel manager positions predicted to be least affected at 10%.
The seven hospitality roles most at risk from Brexit
1. Waiter/waitress (80%)
2. Bartender / Barista (64%)
3. Host (48%)
4. Hotel concierge (34%)
5. Chef (26%)
6. Restaurant manager (17%)
7. Hotel manager (10%)
Whilst a huge variety of hospitality roles are likely to be affected by Brexit – such as room attendants, porters and event managers – the research provides a snapshot of the state-of-play for some of the key positions in the sector.
The UK industry needs to ensure it retains its reputation as a leader in friendly service and preserve the skills needed to perform the ‘art of hospitality’ – by being proactive. One-in-six respondents feel that the UK doesn’t have the workforce available to fill any future shortfalls, so businesses need to be on the front foot with developing an action plan as soon as possible to mitigate the challenges ahead.
The report’s authors commented: “Brexit is accelerating UK hospitality’s labour shortage due to the industry’s strong reliance on migrant workers. The Home Office has signalled that EU freedom of movement would end immediately in a no-deal scenario, and the exacerbation effect of this on already challenging conditions has been the focus of debate within the sector.
“Businesses need contingency plans that consider how the service currently being delivered can be maintained to ensure any negative impacts to the bottom line are minimised. Our report details ways in which the industry can be proactive and do everything it can to boost skills and drive forward recruitment and retention. We hope it provides food for thought and helps to shine a spotlight on the many diverse opportunities that are available for those considering a career in this rewarding industry.”
Alistair N Sandall FIH, Head of Professional Development at the Institute of Hospitality, added: “The greatest challenge facing the hospitality industry today is the shortage of skilled staff at all levels. There is no doubt that the industry offers fantastic careers to everyone, of all ages and all backgrounds. The world is your oyster when plotting a hospitality career.
“The industry, to survive in these turbulent socio political and economic days, has to be the career of choice for youngsters starting out in their careers.
“Additionally, we need to be highlighting role models and shouting what a great and fun career it really is. And as we know, it’s not just limited to traditional stereo-typical roles – in this digital age, with the gig economy and ever-changing conventions and disruptors, the scope and breadth of roles and salaries is enormous.
“To underpin this, we must work harder at attracting and, crucially, retaining our teams. Training, training, training is key to unlocking success, as well as a far wider complement of employee benefits and recognition of the changing cultures in our teams, the environment and their wellbeing.”
As the independent hotel market has never been more challenging, the Institute of Hospitality has a webinar which deals with some of the key challenges facing owners and operators and provides useful advice and direction as to how to turn some of the challenges into opportunities.
Endorsed by the Institute of Hospitality, the report has been created by High Speed Training, a leading online training provider delivering accredited digital training that helps people to be engaged, effective and safe in the workplace.
About High Speed Training
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With over one million learners supported to date, High Speed Training believes in the power of lifelong learning. It is the authority on personal development and compliance, providing the tools that can help individuals to achieve their aspirations, whether progressing an existing career path or breaking down the barriers to starting a new one.
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