North Wales hit with hospitality staffing crisis despite boom in staycations and surge in tourists
Hotels, bars and restaurants are struggling to recruit workers in what looks like the region’s busiest ever summer
A hospitality staffing crisis has broken out in North Wales, as staycations boom across the region.
Reports emerged across the UK this year, of staffing shortages in the sector and this region is no different, with many blaming the problem on Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Restaurants and pubs, were struggling to find staff even before “Freedom Day”, with job adverts in the sector already higher than pre-pandemic levels by June.
Now exclusive figures from Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) show the scale of vacancies in Wales, as the region looks to capitalise on a bumper year for visitors.
In June, when pubs and restaurants were getting ready for “Freedom Day” on August 9, there were 5,837 vacancies in the hospitality sector in Wales.
That’s more than twice the 2,497 vacancies recorded in June 2019.
Kitchen and catering assistants were the most wanted across the country this June, with 2,195 open positions (up from 888 in 2019), followed by 1,869 vacancies for chefs (up from 847) and 497 bar staff jobs (up from 205 in 2019).
It comes after a bi-annual report of UK destinations, published by Sykes Holiday Cottages,saw North Wales dislodged Devon and Cornwall from the top spot for 2021, for summer holidays.
This is affecting some businesses across the region, as they struggle with staff shortages, coupled with the surge in customers.
Earlier this month, the Chain Bridge Hotel, Llangollen, said it had made drastic changes to the way it operated.
That included being unable to serve food on certain days and reducing the menu on others.
Seamus O’Keeffe, owner of The Chainbridge Hotel, said: “We have battled hard for several weeks to keep things normal and operate fully, but it has taken its toll and we must make changes.”
Jim Jones, chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said: “Recruitment is a difficult issue right across the tourism and hospitality sector at the moment.
“There are a number of reasons for this, including Brexit which has led to the tap of European workers being turned off and the people who were working here before we left European Community returning home.
“Then there are others who found alternative employment while they were on furlough from pubs, hotels and restaurants that were forced to close during lockdown.
“The upshot is that we now have a dire shortage of staff and the result is that some businesses are unable to fully reopen because they do not have enough people to cater for the demand.
“After the nightmare we have all endured over the past 18 months, it is a cruel irony because demand in the tourism and hospitality industry has never been higher.
“The boom in staycations has led to a surge in visitors to North Wales and it is a shame that businesses that have suffered so much are being hamstrung in this way.”
However there are those looking to marry potential workers with vacancies in the sector.
The original version of this article was first published in North Wales Live
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