Staff shortage causing £21bn loss for hospitality

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

These findings are the result of a joint survey between UKHospitality (UKH), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). The study also revealed that the widespread lack of staff is forcing one in three businesses in the sector to close one or more days a week. Recent ONS data shows that the sector currently has a record 174,000 jobs available, experiencing 83% more vacancies compared to March–May 2019 (the most recent comparable period). 

The joint survey shows that the highest shortages are for front-of-house jobs, with 81% of those operators with vacancies looking to fill these roles. Chefs are the next most sought-after, with 75% of operators with vacancies looking to recruit for these positions, followed by kitchen porters (67%) and assistant managers (53%). 

In a joint statement, UKH, the BII and the BBPA, comment: "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 [offering] 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 opportunity 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."

Last month, UKH launched its nationwide hospitality workforce strategy to nurture cooperation between industry stakeholders and boost recruitment and training for a new generation of staff. 

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