The coronavirus pandemic flipped the hospitality industry upside down. A significant number of restaurant and bars were forced to close. There was no alternative for such businesses to generate income, and some took huge debts to maintain the restaurants. Employees were furloughed or made redundant.
The restrictions regarding keeping safe from spreading Covid-19 have loosened and the end is finally in sight. Previously, indoor dining was not allowed, but it is now allowed. This is good news for the industry since an increased demand for food and drinks is the only hope that the industry will recover. Sadly, some restaurants that were severely hit by the pandemic may not reopen due. In addition, restaurants may not open due to staff shortages even though there will be high demand for their services.
Arguably, the impact of lockdown and Brexit has primarily contributed to the lack of staff to fill the open jobs in the restaurant sector. After the lockdown, a high number of employees left the industry. However, it is not evident which factor impacted the shortage between people leaving the hospitality industry or people leaving to go back to their countries. The following are the reasons finding willing and skilled people to work at restaurants have become a challenge.
Brexit and Covid-19 are blamed for the struggle to find quality prospects. Foreigners who worked in hospitality industries were forced to go back to their countries after losing jobs. This includes management, bar and waiting staff who were working in various hospitality businesses in the UK. Their absence has significantly impacted the shortage of employees to work in hotels, restaurant, and bars.
In addition, young workers defensibly experienced a significant fall in employment in the hospitality sector. A record of 78% of people who left the payroll was under 35, and more than half of this number was below 25 years. EU immigrants consisted mainly of people under the age of 35 and eager to work. However, after Brexit, they all had to leave unless the government allowed them to stay. Therefore, leaving the major industries, including hospitalities, understaffed.
Arguably, Brexit impacted the UK economic growth and jobs significantly. Even if restaurants fully reopen, the slower rate of economic growth will affect how fast they will recover. In addition, low and medium-skilled occupants have been difficult to find since Brexit. It would be particularly more challenging for employers to find skilled workers after the pandemic.
Lockdowns due to the pandemic were so unpredictable. Employees were not well prepared for the layoffs and staying at home without any income to sustain them. Covid-19 has become unpredictable, with new variants emerging every day. Due to this, people have lost faith in working in the hospitality industry since its future is uncertain. This fear is especially high in people who found other jobs and would not risk losing the source of income if pandemic restrictions are placed again.
Debatably, many people left the sector after the lockdown and moved on to new occupations. This could have been triggered by how employees felt let down by the employer and the industry. Since the hospitality industry was not dependable, people sought employment in other sectors. There is little hope of people who left the industry coming back to work unless something great happens and restaurants jobs gain stability once more.
Chefs have been the most challenging to find. Therefore, all employers are finding it difficult to get prospects with relevant experience. Mostly, Students are recruited for attentive jobs. However, it does not solve the problem since they are flexible to work only on the weekends and lack experience. Thus, higher need for people with skill and experience to fill the top positions.
Also, young people are popularly perceived as unskilled and have shown little interest in occupying those jobs. Similarly, furloughed staff has been the most challenging to persuade, and most seem hesitant to leave current employers and go to the hotel industry. People are staying put and sticking with employers, and gain furlough contributions. In some cases, employees employed in other sectors want to work in restaurants part time and remain in their permanent jobs. Arguably, if the sector were closed again, they would still have a secure job and get income. The struggle to get quality workers for employers is, therefore, a growing issue that demands intervention.
The sudden demand for staff
The restaurants were closed for about a year, and a significant number looked for alternative or left the UK altogether. Recently, restaurants we allowed to resume business as usual. Delayed bookings have increased customer demand. This sudden surge in business also demands recruiting of skilled staff to deliver the services. Thus, the high demand for hospitality sector staff has contributed to the shortage of staff. It is so sudden, and people had already moved on. This lowers the possibility of many restaurants fully reopening, and it may take several years for the industry to recover fully.
Out of desperation, employers offer gift vouchers to customers encouraging them to refer people to work in the restaurant. Others are offering bonuses to workers if they agree to work for them. However, employers’ efforts and actions are not very effective as the number of applicants for open jobs remains the lowest. Thus, they need to be more strategic to lure people back to the hospitality industry. More needs to be done other than incentives to assure the stability of restaurant jobs in the future.
However, the government has a major role in people’s lack of faith in this industry. Thus, it is its responsibility to provide support and motivate more people to work in a restaurant. Interestingly, some businesses will not open due to insufficient funds and debts, and therefore, the government should offer support to them so that they can also reopen. Additionally, it should protect the sector by dropping more restrictions. Otherwise, the struggle to find hires in the hospitality sector will become worse.
Lockdown easing in England to be delayed by four weeks to 19 July amid rising cases of the Delta variant.
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