A new lockdown for Hospitality?

By Andrea Tamba · Aug 11, 2022

The monotony of the last 2 years has nurtured a deep longing for normality within the British public, as a notable 86% promise to return to their pubs and restaurants this summer, with a reported 50% promising to visit pubs more often this summer than the last. Clearly, the consumer demand is there. 

But the UK’s new points-based immigration system has left hospitality businesses ill-equipped, and therefore a poor match for their eager customer base. 

A report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the industry lost a total of 355,000 non-UK national workers between 2020 and 2021 as a post-Brexit consequence. Where EU workers constituted 42% of the hospitality workforce before the pandemic, they now only account for 28%. And it has become significantly difficult for international job seekers looking for work within the UK, as their job must meet a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 per year before they’re granted a visa.

A natural consequence of this is the current staffing crisis, which has meant that 49% of hospitality businesses have had to close their doors from customers. Pre-Brexit trading hours no longer match business capability, as a reported 82% of employers admit that this is the most difficult period of recruitment they’ve had to confront. As a result, Employers have been calling for the government to ease its stringent immigration restrictions, or otherwise implement a sector specific visa system.

The ‘No More Closed Doors’ campaign

Gigl’s ‘No More Closed Doors Campaign’ was a collective outrage at businesses being forced to cut operating hours short due to a lack of staff.

Multiple factors contribute to the current staffing crisis: from the visa blockade to the pandemic, and even recruitment practices. Gigl’s understanding is that archaic ways of recruitment are still being implemented to attract a workforce that responds to the digital. The industry presently cannot make up for the 355,000 EU workers lost, but it can adapt to the changing landscape in recruitment to tackle this loss. And that means speaking the language of Gen Z.

This generation responds to engaging ways of recruitment, which requires employers to switch from traditional CVs to video applications. Employers and candidates alike are able to see if a candidate’s personality is a match for a job listing from the start of the recruitment process. Cutting down on the time it takes to recruit means that businesses are enroute to normalcy again.