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Recruitment Challenges Faced by the Hospitality Industry

In 2022, anybody working in hospitality will be acutely aware of the recruitment challenges. Whether you’re running a skeleton team or having to reduce your opening hours, this can cause a huge hit to profits.

Why has it become so difficult to maintain staffing levels? Let us break down the top 3 challenges faced when recruiting in hospitality:

The COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has given many industries a headache or two! But when it comes to hospitality, there seems to be a cloud of unique circumstances lingering over daily operations:

  • Increased hygiene and infection control measures.

  • Maintaining adequate staffing levels to ensure proper hygiene and enhanced cleaning.

  • Disruption due to illness.

  • High numbers of people left hospitality during the pandemic and have not returned.

During the pandemic, self-isolation and the lack of adequate financial support for businesses to pay their employees to stay at home pushed many out of the industry. Instead, employees are looking towards office jobs where, if you test positive, you can continue working from home with little to no disruption. Larger organisations were often able to provide better financial support for employees unable to come to work due to COVID-19.

As furlough and self-isolation support payment schemes finished, employers found it hard to strike the right balance between preventing infection and being able to operate in a profitable way.

Top Tip:

Making clear the routes to progression can motivate employees to think longer-term about their career in hospitality. For example, management roles, or retraining in other areas.

Wages and the rising cost of living

For many working in hospitality, low wages are part and parcel of the job. The rise in the cost of living has seen many businesses raise their prices, making it even more difficult for those working in hospitality to afford the essentials.

Jack Monroe, food writer and activist, recently devised a more accurate measure for how much the average weekly food shop has increased in the United Kingdom. Her research shows the drastic rise in prices for many store cupboard essentials, such as pasta, rice and tinned goods; some of which have skyrocketed by as much as 344%. This means that many are searching elsewhere for employment and retraining in fields offering better pay in order to survive.

This has made continuing with levels of staffing prior to the pandemic seem incredibly unlikely for many employers.

The seasonality of hospitality

It’s not unlikely to see jobs in hospitality rise and fall with the tides of tourism. For many working in the industry, there is an understanding that work gets busier as the weather heats up, and slows as we move into the colder months. This, along with the rise in zero-hour contracts in the industry, has made it difficult for many to see themselves working in hospitality long-term.

The challenge of retaining staff when work can’t be guaranteed on a weekly basis is especially difficult compared to long-term stable employment. However, it is also proving more difficult to attract candidates during the recruitment process.

Being up-front about the seasonal nature of the position is crucial. Even if a role is permanent, zero-hour contracts will understandably equal a fluctuating payslip for your employees.

Top Tip:

Having core members of staff working full-time, spaced throughout your opening hours, can create pillars of stability for the team. These permanent roles will create a structure that allows you to ensure continued operations, while the rest can be filled out by temporary workers during peak months.

A change in priorities

As we've returned to life with no restrictions, spending more time meeting up with friends, and beginning to travel again, the potential for hospitality is huge. However, the world we live in and the priorities we hold have changed massively over the past few years. While it might be true that there is a bright future ahead for hospitality, it’s more crucial now than ever that businesses adapt to the changing demands of the workforce.

If you need advice on how to adapt your business model to changing demands post-pandemic, or if you’re in the hospitality industry and are uncertain of your career path, we’re here to provide professional advice and guidance. Call us on 01792 477340 to get started.


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