The UK's dwindling workforce

By Andrea Tamba · Sep 16, 2022

The hospitality and retail sectors are experiencing record high labour shortages, with vacancies reaching 176,000 as of July 2022. A study by Koozai, a digital marketing agency, which pooled together data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), revealed regional disparities in skilled worker shortages: Cornwall is reported to be the hardest hit, with 33% of employers reporting difficulties, followed by Lancanshire (25%) and Dorset(22%). 

Currently however, hospitality managers are reluctant to invest in the training or retraining of their employees, because of the time needed to do so. A report by the British Institute of Innkeeping reveals that although 90% of managers recognise the need for training to ensure retention, 63% are concerned that candidates would leave after the training. This suggests that employers are throwing workers straight into work, the natural consequence of this is the high turnover rate, as candidates are unprepared for the culture of the workplace.

As the demand for staff currently hugely outstrips the supply, employers now face a candidate driven market, which they are unprepared for. 

Figures from a report, which sampled 250 hospitality employers, demonstrated a general trend towards higher salaries across the industry. In their efforts to attract and retain staff, employers have been offering above average salaries: sous-chef salaries have moved from £26k a year to 31k; a Bartender, who would normally earn 18k could now be making 25k. 

With the current setup presented by the cost of living crisis, the London living wage has become the new minimum. Any job advert offering less than £13ph generally does not get any applications, compared to the £9ph advertised pre-covid.

Compounded with the trend of sign-on bonuses, where employers have been offering up to £2000,  the cost of hiring for hospitality employers has skyrocketed. 

These figures will only increase.