UKHospitality has announced a 12-point plan aimed at tackling the “acute” staffing shortage crisis that the industry is facing.
The trade body confirmed that widespread staffing issues, particularly in front-of-house and chef roles, has prevented a number of sites from reopening, with many businesses also having to restrict their trading hours.
The plan suggests a variety of measures from industry and government in the short, medium and long-term to help attract new people into the sector and fill vacancies.
Measures include a campaign to highlight the looming deadline for Settled Status applications (30th June); the launch of a recruitment and retention campaign; working with education establishments to promote the sector to students; and amending the UK’s immigration system to ensure hospitality positions are included in the Shortage Occupation List and a Youth Mobility Scheme introduced.
The publication of the plan comes after the group announced a partnership with the Department for Work & Pensions which will see UK Hospitality hosting sessions across the UK with DWP work coaches.
“Hospitality offers a wonderfully diverse range of roles and exciting careers and is a stable employer for millions of people across the UK,” said UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls.
“Staff at all levels play a crucial role delivering world-class hospitality at the very heart of their communities, with employers large and small offering high-class training schemes, apprenticeships and career development pathways.
“However, it’s clear that we need to attract new people to our sector and highlight the benefits of a job or career in hospitality. Prior to the pandemic, we employed 3.2 million people and were the third largest private sector employer in the UK.
“By working closely with government on implementing this plan, the sector can restore confidence and bounce back even stronger, so hospitality is once again seen as a dynamic and exciting sector of growth, and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.”
The plan includes:
- Government to commit as early as possible to remove all restrictions and restore confidence in working in the sector.
- Government – central and local – and industry to highlight the looming deadline for Settled Status applications (30th June) and reassure workers overseas that they can return.
- Industry to work closely with DWP and others to promote jobs and careers in the sector, with Government ministers talking up the sector at every opportunity.
- Industry to engage with secondary schools, colleges and universities to encourage their students into the sector when term finishes.
- Industry will continue to work in collaboration with DWP to make sure Kickstart works to the fullest for young people and the sector
- HM Treasury to immediately freeze the liquidation of employers’ Apprenticeship Levy funding – to allow industry to invest in high-quality training.
- UK Hospitality to facilitate additional promotion of CareerScope
- Hospitality and tourism sector to launch recruitment and retention campaign.
- Expedite the introduction of a Catering T-level and commit to a Hospitality T-level.
- Government to amend the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and ensure that chefs and other vital roles are returned to the list – alongside a Youth Mobility Scheme.
- Make permanent the reduced rate of VAT and double the Employer National Insurance Contribution threshold to support businesses to grow and pay higher wages.
- Review the impact of the new immigration system and its effect on the competitiveness and recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy.