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Hospitality in Crisis: Industry to Be Hit with Staff Shortage in Wake of Brexit

Leading Yorkshire-based online training provider, High Speed Training, has issued an urgent appeal to the UK hospitality industry as new research reveals the extent of the staffing shortage set to take over UK businesses in the wake of Brexit.

The findings of the nationwide study, involving hospitality business owners and managers across the UK, has revealed that 97% are expecting to experience a shortage of labour as a result of hard Brexit. One in six have said that the UK does not have the workforce available to fill the shortfall.

The research is part of High Speed Training’s new campaign which sets out to champion careers in hospitality and help to address the gap. It urges businesses in the industry, education providers, parents and the government to consider opportunities for showcasing professional prestige in the industry and ways to encourage more people to apply for roles and pursue longer term career paths.

Among more than 1,000 members of the public, the majority indicated that Brits consider the UK to currently have the friendliest hospitality. More than two thirds (70%) advised they will repeat visit an establishment based purely on the quality of service – as a more important decision factor than price, menu selection and location. The findings offer promising reading to industry insiders in otherwise difficult conditions and provide grounds for instilling pride.

With the quality of service proven to be critical to ensuring repeat business and post Brexit success, now is the time to act in order to ensure teams continue to uphold standards and ensure a seamless experience for customers. However, industry research reveals that serving staff roles are predicted to be the most at risk following Brexit, with hotel manager positions predicted to see the least disruption.

The seven hospitality roles most at risk of a staff shortage from Brexit according to industry workers in management positions or business owners are:

  • Waiter / Waitress (80%)
  • Bartender / Barista (64%)
  • Host (48%)
  • Hotel Concierge (34%)
  • Chef (26%)
  • Restaurant Manager (17%)
  • Hotel Manager (10%)

The findings are taken from a new industry report, Preserving the ‘Art of Hospitality’: Championing the Industry for Post-Brexit Survival. Drawing upon extensive research, the report encourages the industry to work together to ensure the UK maintains its reputation for delivering quality service, with recommendations for how businesses can successfully recruit and retain more staff.

Dr. Richard Anderson, Head of Learning & Development at High Speed Training, said: “Hospitality has the largest staff shortfall of all UK sectors and a widening skills gap – including a declining number of catering college students and ‘home-grown’ qualified recruits. Brexit is accelerating this labour shortage due to the industry’s strong reliance on migrant workers. The Home Office has signalled that EU freedom of movement would end immediately in a no-deal scenario, and the exacerbation effect of this on already challenging conditions has been the focus of debate within the sector.

“Businesses need contingency plans that consider how the service currently being delivered can be maintained to ensure any negative impacts to the bottom line are minimised. Our report details ways in which the industry can be proactive and do everything it can to boost skills and drive forward recruitment and retention. We hope it provides food for thought and helps to shine a spotlight on the many diverse opportunities that are available for those considering a career in this rewarding industry.”

Ilkley-based High Speed Training has supported over one million learners to date and has earned an impressive reputation for delivering accredited online training that helps people to be engaged, effective and safe in the workplace.

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