Fewer hospitality staff feel they are being paid fairly for their work than last quarter, despite the introduction of the National Living Wage.
That's according to the latest survey by The Caterer, carried out in partnership with temporary staffing specialist LOLA Staffing.
The survey, conducted at the end of May 2016, showed that just 25.7% of agency workers who participated in the sounding thought that hospitality staff were being paid fairly for their work, down from 33% in the first quarter of the year.
The findings come in spite of the fact that the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for workers aged 25 and over came into effect in April this year.
Interestingly for a group not yet entitled to receive the National Living Wage, the proportion of those aged 24 and under who answered The Caterer's survey and thought that hospitality staff are being paid fairly for their work was higher, at 29.4%, than the overall sample.
In the 25-and-above age bracket, 77.2% felt that hospitality staff are not being fairly paid, despite the fact that minimum wage workers saw their pay packets increase two months ago.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, employers viewed things differently. The proportion of respondents who considered the pay they offer to staff as "above average", rose by nearly five percentage points to 46.6%, and there was a small uplift of 0.4 percentage points to 4.5% of those who considered they pay they offer to be "top level".
Some 45.9% said their pay was "average", with just 2.26% viewing it as "below average", and just 0.75% seeing it as "bottom level".
A clear majority of 58% said they would not be willing to pay more for their agency staff, assuming the quality of staff would increase.
This was a significant rise of 23.3 percentage points on a quarter ago. The proportion who answered "yes" to the same question fell from 40.8% to 28.6%, while those answering "don't know" reduced significantly too, from 25.5% to just 13.5%.
The results can been seen as a clear indication that the National Living Wage has squeezed employers, but that employees haven't necessarily noticed a major difference to the size of their pay packet.
Duncan Mitchell, managing director of LOLA Staffing said: "We were disappointed to find out that so many employers are not willing to pay more for better quality staff. Anyone who gets better at their job and achieves a certain level of experience would expect to get paid more for their work.
"Our worry is that such negative attitude of hospitality employers towards fair pay can be very demotivating for the staff or even discourage them from pursuing their career in hospitality completely," he said. "Nobody wants to see this happen, with 53% of employers already admitting that they find it difficult or very difficult to recruit hospitality staff. We'd like to highlight that there are hospitality employers who have taken the lead in paying a good wage to staff."
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