This month, it was reported that more than 92,000 workers from the European Union are estimated to have left the UK’s hospitality sector in the last year.
The Caterer.com Hospitality Hiring Insiderreport analysed thousands of jobs and gathered views from 250 hospitality employers and 2,000 consumers. It revealed that around 21.6% of EU nationals were working in the sector before the pandemic, with this figure falling to 18.7%, equating to a loss of 92,800 people.
Unsurprisingly, 64% of employers expressed concern about losing EU workers, with 66% calling for the government to offer short-term visas for overseas workers and 22% asking for all travel restrictions to be lifted.
In more encouraging news, 60% of hospitality employers report they are getting more applications from UK workers than ever before. And, despite concerns that hospitality and catering workers would be unwilling to return to the sector after seeking alternative work during the pandemic, 67% of employers are seeing staff returning, with 56% hiring staff from other sectors in the last three months.
Back in July, we reported that some employers in the sector were raising wages, offering more flexible hours and expanding their benefits to become more of an attractive prospect for workers. The Caterer.com report further reinforces the importance of revisiting employee benefits. Half of those surveyed believed hospitality wages were low, and 17% considered jobs in this sector as temporary before moving into another profession.
Thankfully, more employers are getting on board and boosting their Employer Value Proposition (EVP), with 58% stating they had increased their benefits package in the last year. Additionally, 80% offer staff bonuses, 81% provide personal development programmes, 83% boast flexible shift patterns, and 77% provide free meals for staff.
There’s little doubt that the sector has suffered due to lockdowns, travel restrictions and the recent ‘pingdemic’. Add to this the reputation that roles in this field are low paying and the hours are long and unsociable, and it’s clear there’s work to do to ensure it gets back on its feet. With employers embracing the changes that need to be made and a growing appetite for UK workers to enter a sector they deem as fun and social, according to the Caterer.com report, could the tides finally be turning for the hospitality and catering sector?
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