Hospitality struggling with 65% decrease in applicants per role versus last year, report shows


Reruitment software business, Occupop has revealed their report which highlights the immense challenges faced by the UK hospitality sector in the wake of Brexit and the pandemic. The report compiles data of over 60 hospitality organisations across Ireland and the UK, and gathers insights into their hiring activities and recruitment figures and trends. It also examines the changing workplace and new models of engagement for businesses and their employees.

Prior to the pandemic the hospitality sector had been facing significant issues with finding talent and employers in this sector were engaged in a perpetual chase for talent. Now, in what seems like the perfect storm, hospitality employers are faced with the immense task of having to rapidly restaff and reskill their workforce, drawing from a fragile and fragmented labour market. Occupop found that the rate of jobs being listed vs filled is at about 30%, in other words 3555 jobs were listed in 2020 with only 1068 posts filled.

The biggest issues are seen as;

1.      Lack of confidence in the sector

‘Waiting staff and chefs are in particular demand as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease’, according to UK Hospitality, reporting on the BBC. The industry body suggests that the pandemic has left the hospitality sector with chronically low levels of job security, and hospitality staff are choosing other more reliable sectors.

2.      Chef Shortages

Estimates suggest that the UK will need another 11,000 chefs by 2022. 6 key reasons for the chronic shortage according to the People1st report, ‘The Chef Shortage: A Solvable Crisis’ are:

o   A shrinking labour pool

o   Too few chef apprentices in the sector

o   Too few full-time chef students entering and staying in the sector

o   The changing nature of chef turnover and chefs leaving the profession

3.      Lack of career progression

A recent report by the online training provider, High Speed Training, reported on food service equipmentjournal revealed, that a third of people feel that roles in hospitality offer little progression and are not considered ‘careers for life’, with further negative perceptions around low salaries and workplace stress’.

Commenting on the situation, co-founder of Occupop, David Banaghan, said: “There is no doubt that hospitality is in a situation no one could ever have predicted. But as the third largest business sector in the UK, it is imperative that every employer within hospitality finds ways to attract and retain talent. At Occupop, we have already seen how employers are upping their games, with steady inflation in hospitality salaries; along with some innovative hiring tactics such as sign-on bonuses and employee referrals bonuses.”