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Job vacancies in hospitality sector rise 46%

Published:  25 May, 2021

The number of new job vacancies in the hospitality sector rose by 46% in the last two weeks, according to new analysis by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM.

In total, there were 39,167 live vacancies for hospitality jobs in food and drink posted in the last two weeks on job website Indeed, up by 46% from 26,736 postings the week before when indoor hospitality re-opened – highlighting acute staff shortages across the sector.

Of the total vacancies, almost half are listed as chef or cook roles highlighting particular shortages in the kitchen, the survey found.

“Giving the green light to opening all indoor and outdoor leisure and hospitality businesses is a real boost for the sector – the pent-up demand is there from consumers but the sector is currently facing a jobs crisis that threatens to hold back its recovery,” said Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM. 

“The Brexit/Covid-19 impact has reduced the pool of foreign-born workers by almost one million, which acutely impacts the leisure and hospitality sector. 

“Employers will need to throw the net wider and look at retraining employees from other sectors to fill the gap but furlough could hamper recruitment,” he said. 

Uncertainty was leading to “zombie employees” who are understandably worried about taking the leap into a new job when they have the security of furlough and the prospect of returning to work in the near future – so the pool of potential employees becomes even smaller,” he added.

“If the government is serious about consumer spending driving the UK’s economic recovery then it needs to consider a relaxation of visa barriers.

“Currently chefs qualify for a skilled worker visa but cooks don’t and this complexity is adding to the staff shortages. What is needed is a fast-tracked recovery visa system for hospitality workers who don’t meet the current point-based system but who are crucial to the sector’s recovery,” he said.

The RSM analysis follows restaurant group Hawksmoor confirming it has begun offering bonuses to employees who recommend friends for jobs in order to fill staffing shortages.

According to the group, each person who is recommended and hired after passing a one-month trial will result in the employee receiving a bonus. They will get £200 for a first friend, £300 for the next one, and up to £2,000 for five friends.

The group said the scheme was a result of the hospitality sector facing a jobs crisis that threatens to delay its recovery following the pandemic.

As part of Harpers’ Building Back webinars in April on-trade leaders examined the growing issue of attracting and retaining talent.