The problem is not just Britain’s stricter immigration rules. According to Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, which represents recruitment companies, other workers, in Britain and elsewhere, have left the hospitality industry in search of more stable jobs.
11 June 2021, 08:36 ET
Restaurant and hotel workers, who are unable to work from home, were hit by unexpected changes in the lock-in rules that led them to pull in and out of work on short notice. Despite the success of Britain’s vaccination program, the delta coronavirus variant is threatening to lift social restrictions in England later this month.
Some people ‘are not confident that there will not be an exclusion again’, Mrs Shoesmith said.
Many workers have moved on to less strenuous work which does not require such late nights and long shifts, as in call centers, retail or other customer service roles. Adecco, a large recruitment agency, has sent a request to tens of thousands of job seekers to determine their interest in hospitality. Only 1 percent answered.
Mrs Shoesmith said recruiters expected some European Union citizens to eventually return to Britain to work, “but the vast majority do not want to; that is the expectation.”
To help fill the gap, there is a broad sentiment that the hospitality industry should make an attractive career for Britons, worth pursuing, with training and opportunities for promotion. For now, however, this work is often regarded as just a ‘work you do among other things’, as me. Shoesmith put it.
UKHospitality has partnered with job coaches in government work centers. It wants them to prioritize hospitality as a “career of choice” and think beyond entry-level or pre-position positions.
Until then, the shortage of workers has been hurting many businesses.
In more than three decades in the industry, John Crompton, director of Hillbrooke Hotels, has said he has never known such a staff shortage. The company, which has four “quaint luxury” hotels and hostels in the East and South of England, must employ at least 50 people.