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Hospitality Focus: ‘Freedom day’ delay and skills shortages

Author: Matthew Przyborowski

Published date: 2021/06

Prs Blog

If the last 12 months have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t get too excited about the 21st June. Over the last week, reports have emerged that this much-anticipated date in the calendar, dubbed ‘freedom day’, is set for a two-week delay as concerns grow over the spread of a highly contagious variant of the virus.

It could be bad news for nightclubs and large venues, which are still waiting to open for the first time in over a year. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Data released from the Office of National Statistics revealed that the percentage of pub and bar owners who had “high confidence” in their establishment surviving the next three months had passed 20% for the first time since November 2020.

The potential ‘freedom day’ knock-back has also failed to affect the appetite for hospitality stocks. On 8th June, shares in Mitchells & Butlers gained 1.8p to 315.8p, Marston’s rose 1.8p to 95p and Fuller’s increased by 26p (3%) to 882p.

It’s not just pubs getting a piece of the action. Events platform FIXR stated that in the month following pandemic curbs starting to lift, ticketed events in England rose by 560% and more than 1000% in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, compared to the same period in 2019. 

Of course, there’s more work to be done, but such data indicates that the green shoots of recovery are starting to emerge, even in the face of possible setbacks. 

Skills shortages

Data from audit, tax and consulting firm RMS revealed that the number of new hospitality jobs had risen 46% over a two-week period in May. It meant there were 39,167 live vacancies for hospitality jobs following indoor licensed trade resuming in England, Wales and Scotland.

Chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Michael Kill, said: “There are severe staffing shortages. A lot of workers are from Europe, so Brexit has had an impact, and there is the furlough hungover, where a lot of people have now got other jobs to keep themselves going and are not coming back.” 

While it’s predicted that hospitality skills will become more readily available in September as furlough officially comes to an end and students look to secure work, it still leaves a significant gap during a critical time for hospitality businesses. Luckily, specialist recruiters with hospitality talent pipelines, like PRS, are on-hand to help plug these gaps and ensure venues can re-open at full capacity and make the most of the lucrative summer trade. 

How PRS can help

PRS places hospitality staff into some of the UK’s best-known hotels, restaurants, pubs, events companies and major venues. Connect with a member of our team to find out more on 0207 553 5660 or email us at