Staff shortages to cost UK hospitality £21bnBy Alice Brooker
Record staff shortage numbers are causing the UK hospitality industry to lose £21 billion (US$25.6bn) in trade, according to a new survey.
Trade body UK Hospitality carried out a survey in partnership with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
It revealed that staff shortages are reaching ‘critical levels’, causing nearly half (45%) of operators to reduce trading hours or a venue’s capacity, in order to cope.
The reduction measures being taken are costing the industry £21bn in lost revenue, as well as an estimated £5bn (US$6.1bn) in tax for the Exchequer.
In a joint statement, UK Hospitality, the BII, and the BBPA, said: “These figures clearly show the danger to the industry and financial loss to the country via taxes posed by the current staffing crisis. In short, the recovery of both the sector and the UK economy are being threatened by this workforce shortage.
“Operators have been doing all they can to help solve the issue, from increasing wages, to flexible working. However, this can only help so much, and the sector must be given targeted support in order to solve the crisis.”
The survey revealed that staff shortages are forcing a third of businesses in the hospitality sector to close one or more days a week.
Recent ONS figures show the hospitality sector has a ‘record’ 174,000 jobs available, and is experiencing 83% more vacancies compared to the months between March and May in 2019.
The highest shortages are for front of house roles, according to the survey, with 81% of operators trying to fill this position.
Chefs are the next most sought after, with 76% of operators looking to fill these roles, followed by kitchen porters (67%) and assistant managers (53%).
The trade groups continued: “People are at the heart of hospitality, providing the quality customer service and personal experiences that people want.
“On the other side of the coin, the sector offers jobseekers a wide range of roles and fulfilling careers with great potential for progression.
“The sector offers opportunities to people of all levels of expertise, experience and backgrounds. A booming hospitality workforce will create fantastic opportunities, drive economic growth and aid regeneration in communities across the UK.”
Last month, UK Hospitality published a workforce strategy to examine the sector’s labour needs.