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Hospitality Staff Recruitment Struggle

Nine in 10 hospitality businesses struggling to recruit staff

Ninety-two per cent of businesses in the hotels and catering sector, are struggling with their hospitality staff recruitment drive. A significant rise from 76% in the second quarter and the highest rate since records began in 1997.

The figures have been released by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), drawn from its Quarterly Recruitment Outlook for Q3, a survey of more than 5,600 firms.

Attempted recruitment across all sectors was up, with 61% attempting to recruit (52% in Q2). However, this uptick was followed by large increases in the proportion of respondents reporting difficulty in filling roles – 77% in Q3 (70% in Q2).

Seventy-five per cent of service sector firms who attempted to recruit faced difficulties, up from 69% in Q2, driven by the hospitality sector.

Of all respondents, 50% reported difficulties in hiring skilled technical staff, 45% managerial roles and 34% ‘unskilled’ or ‘semi-skilled’ workers.

The BCC’s head of people policy Jane Gratton said: “While employers are investing more in training, apprenticeships and flexible working practices, this will not improve things overnight.

“Right now, we need government help to provide a more flexible skills system, rapid retraining opportunities and targeted immigration initiatives to plug skills and labour gaps. Wage pressures and energy prices are also ramping up the cumulative costs and there is a limit to how much more can be absorbed before firms are forced out of business.”

Measures could include short-term visas for sectors facing acute shortages and adding more roles to the Shortage Occupation List.

Gratton added: “If action is not taken to address the mounting problems revealed by these data, then businesses will also face extreme difficulty in meeting demand and consumers will see further reductions in the goods and services available to them as we progress into winter.”

The original version of this article was first published on The Caterer 

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Hospitality Workforce Post Pandemic

Great Debate: Not enough people in UK willing to work in hospitality, says Yotam Ottolenghi

Speaking during Sky News’s Great Debate on immigration, Ottolenghi said the hospitality workforce has diminished due to the “Brexit effect”, with not enough people willing to work in hospitality.

Not enough people in the UK are willing to be part of the hospitality workforce, despite rising pay and better working conditions, a leading restaurateur has said.

Chef Yotam Ottolenghi told Sky News’s Great Debate on immigration that he was “seriously struggling” to recruit across the board – from front of house staff to managers and head chefs.

He said he estimated pre-pandemic more than 50% of his staff would be from overseas, but now the industry is currently undergoing a “perfect storm” of people leaving.

He blamed the “Brexit effect”, adding: “Our pool for recruitment has really diminished from many hundreds of millions, which was the EU, to the borders of this country.

“We just can’t seem to able to get enough people through the doors for job interviews and for the positions we have to fill on all levels.”

“There are just not enough people in this country willing to work in this industry full stop,” he said.

Ottolenghi was speaking during Sky News’s Great Debate, which asked: Does Britain need more immigration?

Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis, author and activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, chairman of Migration Watch UK Alp Mehmet, and government adviser on migration issues Madeleine Sumption spoke with Sky’s Trevor Phillips and a studio audience about the issues around immigration.

Dr Mos-Shogbamimu argued the “biggest problem is the way we talk about immigration”, and said the language itself was “rooted in xenophobia”.

“The government lacks the competence to deal with this,” she added.

“It’s very much about them versus us.

“The people who saved our lives last year during the pandemic would not be welcome in terms of the standards that are in place, if you are only going to focus on high skilled.”

She added: “When this country has needed the help of immigrants – whether it was the Windrush generation or those who have come from Ireland – so many people came here and made this country what it is today.

“We should not be tolerating an environment that excludes people.”

Entrepreneur Theo Paphitis said the key lay in training up UK staff, but blamed the inaccessibility of the government levy.

There are a billion pounds, he said, that employers can’t access to use on apprenticeships. He added: “If they eased that we could help the skills gap right now.

“The money is in the pot.”

The original version of this article was first published in Sky News

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Hospitality Employability Gap: Is this the answer?

Help for unemployed to train for hospitality industry

A FREE service will be launched this week to create a “trained and ready workforce” for the understaffed hospitality and leisure sectors.

The hospitality and customer service programme At Your Service is being operated by the charitable housing association BCHA with support from BCP Council.

Training on the four-week course includes accredited City and Guilds level two food and hygiene; barista training; level two certificate in customer service; and level two certificate in personal development for employability.

BCHA’s employability and skills experts also help participants with job searches, interview preparation and coaching.

BCHA project manager Val Jefferies, said: “At Your Service has been created in direct response to unemployment resulting from Covid and the current skills shortage and recruitment challenges within the hospitality and leisure sectors across BCP.

“The vision of a post-Covid high street is shifting away from largely retail towards an experiential arena for customers to enjoy eateries, coffee shops, themed pop-up food outlets and galleries. This will create substantial and much needed growth within the hospitality and leisure sectors.

“At Your Service recognises that many people who have lost their jobs already have valuable transferable skills, which when teamed with relevant training, coaching and work experience can enable them to enter into meaningful employment in these sectors. It will also give them a sense of purpose and pride in being part of the regrowth of the local economy.

“We would like to invite referral partners and local hospitality employers to join us at the launch of At Your Service to learn more about the programme, meet the course chef and the team, explore opportunities to work together and make a real difference to those individuals and businesses within this sector.”

The launch takes place on Thursday, October 7, 2-4pm, at BCHA’s site The Factory, 14 Alder Hills, Poole BH12 4AS.

Participants from the first course will be on hand to talk about the training and practical and professional support they have received and to serve coffee and desserts they have prepared.

The original version of this article was first published in the Bournemouth Echo 

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