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Worker Shortage Fix Needed If Hospitality’s World Cup Boost To Continue

Hospitality businesses saw a 33% increase in sales during the World Cup final, despite ongoing staff shortages.

Leading hospitality trade bodies have united to highlight the untapped potential of hospitality to drive economic growth, as new survey data from CGA Insight on behalf of the sector shows that 61% of hospitality businesses are experiencing staff shortages and widely reduced their trading hours and days as a result.

The data, collected by the British Beer and Pub Association, the British Institute of Innkeeping, Hospitality Ulster and UKHospitality shows that almost 40% are reducing trading hours. Of those, hours have reduced by up to 74% midweek and 42% at the weekend. That loss of trading has seen two-thirds report a sales decline of up to 25%.

Chefs remain the most difficult position to recruit, with up to 79% of respondents experiencing chef vacancies. Businesses also have high levels of vacancies for front of house staff (70%), kitchen porters (59%), brewery staff (57%) and housekeeping (52%).

The data follows reporting that the Government is seeking to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to other countries, which hospitality bodies are supportive of. In addition, the sector continues to call for the Shortage Occupation List to be expanded and for wider reform of skills and training, with a particular focus on addressing economic inactivity.

In a joint statement the trade bodies said:
“We saw during the World Cup final last weekend just what hospitality can deliver. The sector saw a huge 33% uplift in sales, even as this new data shows that almost two-thirds of venues are running short of staff.

“Just think what we can deliver if our pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels were able to recruit the positions they need. If you have hospitality running at full capacity, you’ll no doubt see the sector generate rapid economic growth; creating thousands of jobs and supporting local communities.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that with 60% of businesses unable to adequately recruit, they have had no choice but to curtail their trading.

“This is a massive blow for businesses, who need sales more than ever to contend with rising costs, and it’s a huge detriment to the local community, who look to hospitality as places to meet, socialise and take a much-needed break.

“Which is why it’s frustrating that we have seen little progress in addressing these shortages and that our local pubs, restaurants, hotels, to name a few, continue to plead for a better recruitment environment, particularly from overseas.

“Despite the enormous investment and time the sector is putting in to develop its own talent, through apprenticeships and training, there is an immediate need to address shortages now.

“This data demonstrates that urgent need and it’s clear the Government recognises this as an issue, but solutions have not been forthcoming. We would urge the Government to widen the Youth Mobility Scheme and Shortage Occupation List as a starting point to solve recruitment woes, in addition to wider reform of skills and training.”