Written on 20-Jul-2021
Monday 19th July saw the official relaxing of restrictions in England, or so called ‘freedom day’, but could this mean even more problems for the hospitality industry?
The pandemic and Brexit have deepened the longstanding issues in the sector, such as low pay, long working hours and chaotic shift patterns.
According to a recent survey we sent to our CJUK Chefs, 48% said more sociable hours was the most important aspect in bringing back passionate Chefs, many of which have gone to work less hours in different industries during the pandemic. They also said better pay and more progression opportunities would be likely to attract and retain people.
UKHospitality state that around one in five hospitality staff are self-isolating due to contract tracing and this is set to rise to a third of the industry’s workforce. Nearly one in ten hospitality roles is also vacant, which suggests a shortage of 200,000 workers.
The UK government has launched a new hospitality strategy to ‘support the reopening, recovery and resilience’ of England’s pubs, restaurants cafes and nightclubs.
Measures include highlighting opportunities in the sector to jobseekers through DWP’s dedicated Work Coaches, helping to address the current recruitment crisis. Pavement licenses will be extended and made permanent to enable establishments on the high street to offer al fresco dining and serve more customers outside.
There will also be initiatives focused on making hospitality a career option of choice by exploring vocational skills and training, running boot camps and qualifications like T-levels, as well as working with the sector to raise the profile of careers in the industry.
Our Managing Director, Katie Mellor, said:
“Although this is a challenging time for our sector, the staff shortage presents a great opportunity for candidates to benefit from a better employment package or return to better working conditions. Although these should have been offered a long time ago, it seems that many businesses are now putting an emphasis on mental wellbeing, work-life balance and pay which is great to see.”
For many of our small and medium-sized establishments, losing one or two key staff (even for a couple of days) could mean having to close the premises completely.
To tackle this, some of our clients have made the decision to close on two set days so that their staff are off at the same time, they have reduced and simplified menus and even asked their front of house staff to help in the kitchen with the simpler dishes.
It’s clear that the hospitality industry needs this support from the government on its road to recovery. We also need to make urgent changes to working conditions and pay if we want to attract new people to our sector and bring back the passionate people who have left us.