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16 January 2019
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02 July 2018 Herpreet Kaur Grewal


A report by YouGov reveals that the UK hospitality industry could face significant staff shortages, explains Herpreet Kaur Grewal.

The UK hospitality industry could face significant staff shortages if results from a recent report are borne out.

A survey launched by workforce collaboration software company Planday and conducted by YouGov reveals that just over one in 10 workers (11 per cent, which is equivalent to about 330,000 staff nationally) working in UK restaurants, catering, bars and hotels are thinking about leaving the UK as a result of Brexit.

This is in stark contrast to hospitality managers’ expectations that only around 4 per cent of their workers are considering leaving the UK because of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

According to the poll, 3 per cent of hospitality managers predict that they will be forced to close their businesses as a result of Brexit, which nationally could equate to around a £1.1 billion loss for the economy.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) of hospitality managers find recruitment harder now than in April 2017 and 16 per cent of them do not think they will be able to fulfil their staffing requirements over the next five years with domestic workers.

Hospitality managers call for more support from the government. Almost half (45 per cent) of hospitality managers want the government to offer some form of assistance to the sector due to Brexit – and 30 per cent want specific work permits or visas for hospitality workers post-Brexit.

YouGov conducted the survey online in April. The findings were based on 261 hospitality management interviews and 407 hospitality worker interviews across the UK. YouGov has conducted this research among a range of hospitality sectors including hotels, restaurants and bars.

Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, said: “Brexit will present some fundamental challenges to our sector if the changes proposed around immigration are approved, given the sheer number of staff and businesses that would be affected.

“These results clearly show the need across the sector for forward planning and we are encouraged to see evidence of the industry stepping up to the challenges ahead through increased training and upskilling as well as the many innovative recruitment strategies we know our members are starting to put in place.”

John Coldicutt, chief commercial officer for Planday, said: “These findings show to us the depth of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy, with the hospitality industry being hit especially hard. There’s clearly false confidence within the hospitality sector with almost three times as many workers considering leaving as managers expect. Now more than ever it’s crucial that managers make sure they have the right infrastructure in place to engage their employees and build genuine loyalty.”