Thanks to the double-whammy of Brexit and COVID, a considerable number of hospitality industry employers across the UK are currently finding it a lot more difficult to hire staff.

According to a recent article published by The Caterer.com1, more than 92,000 EU workers have left the UK’s hospitality sector. Since the trade association UKHospitality’s figures show 3.2 million people were working in the industry pre-pandemic, that’s a net loss of 92,800 workers.

But even though the country is suffering a mammoth unemployment crisis, and many hospitality employers are receiving more applications from UK workers than ever before, hospitality vacancies still aren’t getting filled as quickly as they could be.

Why is that?

The hospitality sector has always been set in its ways and is often not as flexible as it should be. At times like this, that puts our industry at a severe disadvantage.

Here’s a typical example.

Many hospitality employers will only hire staff who can prove previous hospitality experience. They won’t even consider applications from people who have worked in other sectors, even if the applicant can demonstrate they used many of the essential skills they’re looking for in their previous role.

So, those employers who are now receiving a lot more applications per vacancy are automatically discounting a significant proportion of them. That means it’s not just the applicant who has missed out; the employer has missed out too. They’ve just passed up the opportunity to hire a provenly accomplished and conscientious hard worker, simply because they haven’t worked in our industry before and will need a little bit of additional training.

That doesn’t make sense.

If the UK hospitality industry is going to survive, employers must change what they’re doing to attract and retain new staff.

I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, and unfortunately, it’s time to talk about it again. In the past, my focus has often been on the importance of creating an environment and work culture that shows your team members how much they’re valued, so you can attract the highest-quality candidates and hold onto them. Until now, it’s a message that many employers have tried very hard to resist. Now, whether through frustration, desperation, or just plain facing up to economic reality, I’m pleased to say that a few of our clients have finally, albeit reluctantly, come around to our way of thinking.

As a result, they’re finding it a lot easier to hire staff.

What are our clients doing that’s working so well for them?

Here’s a brief list of the main bullet points. If you’d like a complete breakdown, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We don’t want our clients success to be an exception; we want to help you find hiring your staff a lot easier too.

  • They’ve cast their net wider. They’re now asking us to find them the right people, regardless of experience, and then they’ll train them in the skills they need.

That’s a ‘No Risk, All Reward’ situation. ‘No Risk’ because our client can rest assured that the highly experienced Prime Agency Recruitment team will still only find them the very best candidates with the qualities and potential to fit seamlessly into their workplace and bring immediate value to their business.

‘All Reward’ because, by letting us cast the net wider, we’ll be able to find them a candidate(s) with the potential to be a more perfect fit than they could ever have anticipated. The successful candidate will also be fair likelier always to go the extra mile because they’ve been given this chance to prove themselves.

  • They’ve increased their pay rates to attract more candidates.

The easiest way to attract the best candidates is by offering the best rates of pay. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitor will.

  • They are booking staff who might only be available part-time, sometimes as little as one day per week.

The rationale behind this is obvious: isn’t it better to have a first-class team member creating value for you one day a week rather than not at all? And, if their availability increases, you’ll be the employer they’ll want to work for.

  • They are offering temporary staff a set five days per week for a minimum three-month period, which gives both the team member and our client much-needed consistency.

During incredibly uncertain times like these, consistency is more important than ever. It’s also working exceptionally well for both our clients and the temp staff because it takes a lot of worry and hassle off everybody’s shoulders.

  • They are asking us for support staff, people who will support a permanent team member in the role and allow them to provide even better customer service.

In the past, some employers have considered support staff a luxury. Now, with competition between hospitality businesses so high, support staff have – for many employers – become a necessity. Whatever you can do to empower your team to give better customer service so that the customer is much more likely to come back soon has to be worth it in the current climate.

  • They’re making their hiring decisions faster because they know if they don’t offer the prospective candidate a start date quickly, someone else will.

When we work with our clients, we’ve always tried to underline the importance of making hiring decisions as quickly as possible. When you’ve met the right candidate, dragging your heels and giving another employer the chance to snap them up first is entirely illogical. Now, it’s more illogical than ever.

  • Finally, at Prime Agency Recruitment, we’ve been doing some forward-thinking too. We’re currently offering introduction bonuses (£100 during August) for new recruits who join us.

That might sound like a lot is changing, but there’s such a massive skills shortage at the moment that significant changes are necessary.

The critical thing to remember is that, by widening your net, offering competitive pay rates, assuring your temp workers more consistency, bringing in support staff and making your hiring decisions faster, you’re not making concessions.

On the contrary, you’re making essential improvements to your business that will make your future success a lot more assured.

At Prime, we’ll do everything we can to make that happen. Just give us a call on 020 7580 4398 or email to discuss your requirements and find out more.


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