Skills shortage a worry for hospitality and tourism industry

New research published by NFU Mutual’s Hospitality Recruitment Guide shows Brexit negotiations and a skills shortage are key concerns for hospitality businesses, with few seemingly prepared for it.

The research reveals skills shortage is a key concern for almost half (45%) of those in hospitality and tourism.

Unease about a skills shortage is surpassed only by a wider concern about political and economic instability as a result of Brexit negotiations, a key concern for 47% of people. When asked about their plans for Brexit, 85% of those who felt Brexit would impact the sector made no comment.

The Hospitality and Recruitment Guide was created by NFU Mutual in partnership with The British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Reed Specialist Recruitment. Its aim is to provide advice to business owners to help them address concerns about future skills shortages by attracting more young people into careers in the industry.

Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Businesses we are speaking with are stressing the huge importance of EU staff to their operations, with real worry that Brexit will result not only in a smaller pool to recruit from but also skills and talent shortages.

“Some businesses already have plans in place for addressing these challenges – such as working more closely with schools and colleges – but in general, very few businesses appear to have done much planning and preparation for Brexit. While it’s difficult to prepare for an unknown, businesses should at the very least start thinking about how they would manage a changed employment landscape, which is how our Hospitality Recruitment Guide can help.”

When asked – without prompting – to identify major opportunities for their businesses over the next one to three years, only 4% of the sample responded with comments which referenced the UK workforce.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “Without future EU migration, the hospitality industry would need upwards of 60,000 new workers per year in addition to the ongoing recruitment of over 100,000 workers required to replace churn and to power growth.

“Hospitality was the first industry in the UK to launch a strategy for attracting and recruiting a substantially higher proportion of our workforce from the UK post-Brexit, but we stress the need for continued, albeit declining access to the EU workforce over time. This guide addresses ways in which our industry may engage the next generation of hospitality workers and leaders, and what makes Generation Y and centennials tick when they consider a job or career.”

The impact of the National Living Wage was also listed as a key concern particularly for the hotel industry, receiving the votes of 35% of those representing hotels and 23% of the wider hospitality industry.

The Hospitality Recruitment Guide is a free PDF available for all to download here.

Martin Fullard


Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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