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Record staff shortages causing hospitality to lose £21bn in trade

A joint survey by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association, demonstrates how a shortage of workers is damaging hospitality businesses and the UK’s recovery

Staff shortages in the hospitality industry are reaching critical levels, causing nearly half (45%) of operators to cut trading hours or capacity in order to cope, costing the industry £21bn in lost revenue and causing an estimated £5bn loss in tax for the Exchequer.

The survey also shows that staff shortages are forcing one in three businesses in the sector to close one or more days a week. Recent ONS figures show sector currently has a record 174,000 jobs available and is experiencing 83% more vacancies compared to March-May 2019 (the most recent comparable period).

The joint survey reveals that the highest shortages are for front of house roles, with 81% of those operators with vacancies looking to fill these roles. Chefs are the next most sought after, with 76% of operators with vacancies looking to recruit these positions, followed by kitchen porters (67%), and assistant managers (53%).

In a joint statement, UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “These figures clearly show the danger to the industry and financial loss to the country via taxes posed by the current staffing crisis. In short, the recovery of both the sector and the UK economy are being threatened by this workforce shortage.

“Operators have been doing all they can to help solve the issue, from increasing wages, to flexible working. However, this can only help so much, and the sector must be given targeted support in order to solve the crisis.

“People are at the heart of hospitality, providing the quality customer service and personal experiences that people want. On the other side of the coin, the sector offers jobseekers a wide range of roles and fulfilling careers with great potential for progression. The sector offers opportunities to people of all levels of expertise, experience and backgrounds. A booming hospitality workforce will create fantastic opportunities, drive economic growth and aid regeneration in communities across the UK.”


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