Brexit and The Threat of Staff Shortages

Staff Shortages

With the proposed end to free movement due to end in 2021, the hospitality industry is potentially going to find itself in an almost impossible situation when it comes to recruiting staff. Whether it is a pub looking for bar staff, a restaurant looking for a chef or waiting staff, or a hotel looking for cleaning assistants, the whole industry is going to feel the force of Brexit in the coming years.
It has been widely publicised that big players such as Pret à Manger and Starbucks rely on people from other countries in the EU to fill between 70% and 90% of their employment vacancies. Pret also revealed recently that only 1 in 50 job applications that they received were from a British person.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has been heavily involved in campaigning to the government to make them aware of the potential problems that the hospitality sector is facing. One of the main points that they have highlighted is that the educational system in the UK does not encourage young people to consider a career in hospitality. Whilst there are proposals to start a new catering and hospitality T-Level, the commencement date for the qualification has now been delayed until September 2022. The hope of BHA was that there would be a number of newly qualified students to be ready to fill job vacancies by 2021 which would go some way to resolving the issue.

So you know that there is going to be a problem, what are you going to do about it? Here are just a few of my suggestions:

  • You will need to ensure that you have a detailed training plan in place. The likelihood is that in the future you will be faced with recruiting people who have some sector experience just to fill the vacancy. If you spend the time now systemising as much of the training programme as possible then it will pay dividends when the time comes. Having a structured training plan in place will also encourage people to join your company.
  • Make your business stand out. When there is a chef who is sought after, you will need to differentiate your business from others to encourage them to join your business. Think about making your environment a great place to work if it isn’t already.
  • Promote from within. Ambitious workers are always looking how they can achieve promotion to the next step. By offering internal promotion you will encourage employees to join your business, hopefully there will be current employees who can help to sell your business on this front.

What is not in doubt is that whatever you try to do, the hospitality sector employment market is going to be very challenging and the shortfall in staff is going to put more pressure of wage costs as a result due to demand outstripping supply. With many businesses already struggling in the sector due the National Living Wage increases, it is definitely going to be a time to keep on top of costs look forward to ensure that you are ready for what is coming.

If you are worried about the implications Brexit will have on your business then contact our expert, Adam on You can also contact us, free of charge, in regards to matters surrounding tax.

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