Acute Staff Shortage Will Hold Back Hospitality Recovery, Government Needs To Step In Warns RSM

The number of new job vacancies in the hospitality sector rose by 46 per cent in the last two weeks according to new analysis by leading audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

In total, there are 39,167 live vacancies for hospitality jobs in food and drink posted in the last two weeks on job website Indeed, up by 46 per cent from 26,736 postings the week before when indoor hospitality opened – highlighting acute staff shortages across the sector.

Of the total vacancies, almost half are listed as chef or cook roles highlighting particular shortages in the kitchen.

Paul Newman, Head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM, said: ‘Giving the green light to opening all indoor and outdoor leisure and hospitality businesses is a real boost for the sector. The pent-up demand is there from consumers but the sector is currently facing a jobs crisis that threatens to hold back its recovery

‘The Brexit/Covid-19 impact has reduced the pool of foreign-born workers by almost 1 million, which acutely impacts the leisure and hospitality sector. Employers will need to throw the net wider and look at retraining employees from other sectors to fill the gap but furlough could hamper recruitment.

‘Uncertainty is leading to zombie employees who are understandably worried about taking the leap into a new job when they have the security of furlough and the prospect of returning to work in the near future – so the pool of potential employees becomes even smaller.

‘If the Government is serious about consumer spending driving the UK’s economic recovery then it needs to consider a relaxation of visa barriers. Currently chefs qualify for a skilled worker visa but cooks don’t and this complexity is adding to the staff shortages. What is needed is a fast-tracked recovery visa system for hospitality workers who don’t meet the current point-based system but who are crucial to the sector’s recovery.’