Majority of operators facing a recruitment and retention challenge

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

More than 80% of operators struggling with recruitment and retention staffing challenges

Related tags Recruitment Hospitality Jobs Staff ukhospitality

More than 80% of hospitality operators are facing recruitment and retention challenges, according to a study by workforce management specialist Bizimply.

The report, entitled ‘The Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality’ and based on a survey and interviews with senior operators across the UK, Europe and US, found that 84.3% of operators are struggling to build a team with the right capabilities to drive growth now and in the near future.

Just 33% of operators, meanwhile, have implemented a clear people strategy in their organisation. 

The report builds on a study undertaken a year ago in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, indicating that a reduced workforce and high demand for skilled employees, along with a global economic downturn, low consumer confidence, and soaring inflation are among the key challenges faced by operators.

Only 40% of respondents feel they’ve invested enough in technology, compared to 55% last year; while 83.4% aim to improve operational complexity using digital tools.

“Sadly, what's clear is that too many hospitality operators are still working with a ‘top-down' approach to people management,” says Conor Shaw, Bizimply CEO. 

“Even before the pandemic, that was looking unfit for purpose. With the economic headwinds the industry now faces, many of those businesses that are failing to invest may not be around much longer.”

Hospitality 'requires targeted support to protect jobs'

The publication of Bizimply's data comes after new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that one in six new jobs this year have been generated by the hospitality industry.

Released yesterday (13 September), the figures show that unemployment is at 3.6%, its lowest rate since 1974.

The number of job vacancies between June and August was 470,000 – 59.1% above pre-pandemic levels in January to March 2020 – with the largest increases in accommodation and foodservice.

“These figures highlight what an important sector hospitality is as a UK employer, showing one in six new jobs in the year were generated by the industry,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

“This equates to an increase of 133,000 new roles, driving total employment in hospitality up 6% to nearly 2.5 million.

“Vacancies in the sector remain high, however, close to double pre-pandemic levels. At the same time vacancies across the economy are 20% higher than a year ago, demonstrating how inherent problems in the labour market remain and how difficult a situation employers in the sector find themselves.

“In order to ease this workforce shortage, we need to work with the Government on long term solutions such as an employment and skills strategy and to ensure that Government schemes are open to all sectors – hospitality is currently excluded from initiatives such as skills boot camps, for example. All this will be for naught, however, if the sector doesn’t receive some short term support.

“On top of the energy price cap we need targeted support, such as VAT cut to 10% and a business rates holiday, to sustain businesses big and small and protect jobs this winter.”

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