The Hospitality Skills Shortage - KSB Recruitment

4 Ways Technology Can Help Solve the Hospitality Skills Shortage

Finding great hospitality workers with the skills and experience you need to make your business work has always been a challenge, but never more so than now. Brexit and COVID-19 both led to a lack of hospitality workers and new immigration laws look set to compound the problem. Under new rules 95% of the 8,500 hospitality visas issued in 2023 would be ineligible. While most of the UK’s hospitality workforce comes from inside the UK, it’s a shrinking talent pool. One that could use the boost from international applicants. All of which begs the question, how can we solve the hospitality skills shortage?

One answer could be technology. Not only can tech like automation and AI help your recruitment, making it easier to find candidates with the right skills and experience to overcome the hospitality skills shortage, but tech can be used to improve retention, streamline workforce planning and staff scheduling and upskill your current team.

What’s Causing Today’s Hospitality Skills Shortage

We’ve talked before about the challenges facing the hospitality industry in the UK right now. One of the biggest recruitment challenges for the hospitality industry is a shortage of staff with the right skills and experience to succeed.

Which can be a problem. Without skilled team members you run the risk of providing a poor customer service and experience, increasing the workload of your existing team and spending more on operational costs. All of which can seriously hurt your profitability!

This lack of skilled staff is affecting the hospitality industry because it is often seen as offering fewer benefits in comparison to other industries, with workers pursuing a better work-life balance, job security and professional development elsewhere.

There is also intense competition as hospitality businesses contend with each other for key skills as well as other industries especially ahead of seasonal busy periods like Christmas and summer which puts additional pressure on your recruitment to find temporary staff.

How Can Technology Help Solve the Problem?

Technology has the potential to change how you hire – making it easier to attract key skills – but also transform your ability to think ahead when it comes to your staffing. Meaning you have access to a stable talent pipeline, aren’t surprised by peaks and troughs in demand for staff and are able to anticipate the skills you need for the future, equipping your staff with the right training. All of which makes technology a powerful partner in addressing the hospitality talent shortage.

Attracting New Talent

Tools such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can help you manage your application process, something that’s particularly useful if you are hiring at volume. It gathers your candidate information in a single database which you can search by key skills, qualifications, and experience, speeding up hiring.

Automation can also be used to handle candidate communication, interview scheduling and job posting, freeing up your time for more strategic activities. Digital recruitment marketing on social media and other platforms can help you connect with new candidate pools, and data analytics can help you understand what makes a successful hire so you can make more informed hiring decisions.

Improving the Candidate Experience

Technology can also help you create more positive candidate experiences, something that makes candidates more likely to stick with the application process and think of you as an employer they’d be happy to work for.

Automated communication keeps them informed throughout the process and can be used to build relationships. You can also use technology to make your application portal or careers site easy to use on multiple platforms and to reduce the number of steps in the application and interview process.

Delivering Training

While hiring for new skills is important, it’s not the only way to combat the hospitality skills shortage. Giving your current employees access to training and professional development can be a great way to access key skills and expertise. Technology can be a quick and easy way to deliver training and track skill development.

There are lots of applications and tools that can provide personalised development plans for your team, and even help them access training online through video lessons, pop quizzes and other materials.

Scheduling and Workforce Planning

Technology can also help you be more efficient when it comes to staff scheduling and workforce planning, so you always have the right number of staff, in the right places, at the right time. Employee Management Systems like these help you to streamline your staff management, rely less on temporary staff and know when you’ll need to hire again.

Some technology, like self-check-in systems, automated inventory management systems and POS systems can even improve your operational efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer experience putting less pressure on your existing staff and allowing you to invest time and money in hiring the right people.

Remember the best recruitment technology for hospitality employers’ balances convenience and efficiency with a human touch. Nothing can replace the skills and experience of your talented staff when it comes to providing exceptional guest experiences and nothing can replace your know-how when it comes to making informed hiring decisions.
What technology can do is remove the burden of repetitive tasks, streamline your workforce planning, and give you insights and tools to help you attract and retain exceptional hospitality staff even as the industry struggles with a hospitality skills shortage.

If you want to kick-start your recruitment this year or just need some guidance on how to attract and retain the best hospitality staff, KSB Recruitment can help. Contact one of our knowledgeable and friendly consultants today.

Who is Dawn Bannister

Dawn has over 30 years recruitment experience recruiting for the likes of Sainsbury’s plc, Holiday Inn, Barclaycard, ISS, Royal Mail, West Midlands Police and the NEC – to name a few. She also oversaw the company’s Investors in People accreditation in 1999 – (and held ever since) and has recently been selected to attend the prestigious programme run by Aston University’s Business Growth Programme.