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Have hospitality workers moved on?

Author: Matt Przyborowski

Published date: 2021/07

Have Hospitality Workers Moved On

With legal Covid restrictions lifting on 19 July and confidence levels of hospitality leaders at their highest since the start of the pandemic, it would appear that the UK’s hospitality sector is set to come back with a bang in the second half of 2021. 

However, since the tentative return to indoor dining in May, many businesses have struggled to recruit the skills they need. In a previous blog post, we looked at why skills shortages were prevalent, including the impact of Brexit, furlough and increased anxiety as reports continue to emerge about new strains of the coronavirus and high infection rates. 

While industry insiders have predicted we will see an increase in catering and hospitality workers entering the market in September, coinciding with the end of furlough and students starting their new terms at college and university, skills shortages are set to provide an ongoing challenge for employers.

After restaurants, hotels and bars were forced to shut last year, thousands of workers moved into new careers, which they are now reluctant to leave. Whether that’s down to job security, more sociable working hours or better pay and benefits, some economists have stated that this shift in labour will have far-reaching effects on the sector. 

It means that employers have had to get creative and take action in an effort to lure workers back. So far, we have seen businesses raise wages, offer more flexible hours and expand their benefits offering to become more of an attractive prospect for workers. 

It’s not just the UK that’s facing staffing challenges. A reportby the Wall Street Journal stated that major US chains Chipotle, McDonald’s and Olive Garden had announced wage increases this year in an attempt to secure staff. Papa John’s revealed it would be spending around $2.5 million on bonuses for the remainder of the year, with Denny’s offering hiring bonuses and free food for applicants. Furthermore, following a survey of its staff, McDonald’s said it was exploring additional staff perks, including emergency child care and transportation vouchers, in a bid to provide greater flexibility. 

With competition to secure the right skills fierce between operators, many are increasingly relying on the support of specialist recruiters. With existing talent pipelines and access to previously untapped talent, recruiters are fast becoming an integral piece of the hospitality and catering skills puzzle. 

Despite the challenges, 70% of businesses are confident about their prospects, according to the July 2021 Hospitality Snapshot Survey from accountancy firm haysmacintyre. The survey found that 60% of restaurants expressed confidence, and 79% of pub and bar respondents are “confident or very confident” about the future, compared to 53% and 41% in March, respectively. Pandemic-permitted and with the right employee benefits and hiring support in place, there’s no reason why hospitality businesses can’t flourish in 2021 and beyond. 

A trusted partner

If you’re looking to secure catering and hospitality staff for your business or are looking for advice on how to improve your employer brand to stand out from the competition, get in touch with the experts at PRS. Call us on 0207 553 5660 or email us at