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4th June 2021

Recruitment and productivity concerns mount after hospitality reopens

Written by: Edward Waddell
A Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth shows fears of staff shortages after the dual problems of Covid-19 and Brexit, plus the challenge of keeping post-furlough teams productive.

Nine out of ten hospitality business leaders are expecting to face staff shortages this year, with 39% concerned about their back of house roles. Many restaurant, pub and bar staff left their jobs during lockdown and Brexit also prevented people travelling to work in the UK.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s director - hospitality operators and food at EMEA, said: “It’s already apparent that recruitment and retention are going to be huge concerns for hospitality over the remainder of 2021.

“Post-Brexit shortages had been expected for some time, but Covid-19 has multiplied the difficulties and many businesses are already facing a staffing crisis at the worst possible time.”

Although two-thirds of business leaders are confident about their ability to recruit and train staff in the coming months, nearly half (47%) say improving employee productivity will be a ‘major focus’ for their business in 2021.

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA, Fourth, added: “The survey paints a very stark picture of the staffing crisis currently facing the hospitality industry. We know from our data that the number of EU workers in the UK hospitality workforce fell by 4% when comparing the first quarter of 2021 with 2019.

“This, coupled with a 12% reduction in new starters from EU countries over the same period, has exacerbated the impact of the pandemic on the workforce, generating the most challenging recruitment market in recent memory.
“We’ll be working hand-in-hand with hospitality businesses, to help them harness the power of technology to tackle the myriad workforce challenges as we negotiate this crucial trading period.”