The UK hospitality industry faces staff shortages and business closures as a result of Brexit, according to a new survey published today.
Around one in 10 (11%) people working in UK restaurants, catering, bars and hotels are thinking about leaving the UK as a result of Brexit, according to the survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of by software company Planday.
That figure, which is equivalent to around 330,000 staff nationally, is in stark contrast to hospitality managers’ expectations that only about 4% of their workers are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit.
Meanwhile 3% of hospitality managers predict that they will be forced to close their businesses as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, which nationally could equate to a loss to the economy of around a £1.1b.
Almost one in five (18%) hospitality managers find recruitment harder now than in April 2017, while 16% of hospitality managers do not think they will be able to fulfil their staffing requirements over the next five years with domestic workers.
John Coldicutt, chief commercial officer for Planday, said: “These findings show to us the depth of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy, with the hospitality industry being hit especially hard.
“There’s clearly false confidence within the hospitality sector with almost three times as many workers considering leaving as managers expect. Now more than ever it’s crucial that managers make sure they have the right infrastructure in place to engage their employees and build genuine loyalty.”
Almost a third (30%) of workers expressed some form of concern about their job as a result of Brexit, with immigration worries topping the list. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those polled who are born outside of the UK said they were concerned that they would be forced to leave the UK.
Other worries amongst all staff included expectations of pay decreases (11%) and being made to work longer hours (6%).
About a third of managers (32%) who haven’t done so already think they will have to pay higher salaries and will experience labour (21%) and skills shortages (15%) as a result of Brexit.
Government support of the industry is needed, according to the poll, which found that almost half of hospitality managers want it to offer some form of assistance to the sector due to Brexit, while 30% want specific work permits or visas for hospitality workers post-Brexit.
Nearly two in five (37%) of workers don’t think the government understands or is representing the needs of non-UK EU workers in the hospitality sector and more than half (53%) of hospitality workers think that Brexit has made the UK a less welcoming place to live and work.
To help address some of the issues that Brexit will present, managers in the 76% of firms who say they are Brexit-ready are taking the following action: training (10%) or upskilling staff (8%); looking at actively recruiting from different markets like older employees or working parents (15%); increasing salaries (8%), or benefits for staff (4%); and looking at introducing more flexibility to appeal to more workers (9%).
Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality commented: “Brexit will present some fundamental challenges to our sector if the changes proposed around immigration are approved, given the sheer number of staff and businesses that would be affected.
“These results clearly show the need across the sector for forward-planning and we are encouraged to see evidence of the industry stepping up to the challenges ahead through increased training and upskilling as well as the many innovative recruitment strategies we know our members are starting to put in place.”