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Hospitality worker wages rise as sector faces staffing crisis, new data shows

·3-min read
<p>Hospitality businesses are struggling to recruit enough staff</p> (PA Wire)

Hospitality businesses are struggling to recruit enough staff

(PA Wire)

Hospitality worker wages are rising as the sector’s staffing crisis builds, latest data from recruiter Indeed showed today.

Indeed economist, Jack Kennedy, told the Standard that median hourly wages advertised for hospitality roles across the UK had risen 2.2% on the first quarter by the last week of May, from £9.25 per hour to £9.45 per hour. This is still below the London Living Wage of £10.85 per hour.

The recruiter found that by mid May the number of hospitality job postings was 20% higher than levels seen in February 2020, rising to 29% higher by June.

It comes as some pubs and restaurants scale back or shutter parts of their operations due to lack of staff, despite surging customer demand. The latest business confidence survey from industry analyst CGA and Fourth found 51% of bosses “anticipate shortages in all roles” this year.

A combination of Brexit and Covid has seen many young workers return to their home countries, while some furloughed staff took up jobs in other sectors over the past year as hospitality faced long periods shuttered and uncertain re-openings.

The requirement for table-only service until at least June 21 has also increased staffing requirements for pubs and restaurants. Restaurateurs and pubco chiefs have told the Standard the shortage is particularly acute in back-of-house roles.

Kennedy said: “Intense competition between firms trying to recruit is nudging up wages, and we have seen some upward pressure on advertised rates of pay as employers fight to lure the best staff.

“Hiring bottlenecks may ease as we approach the end of the furlough scheme, but there is still the issue of lower interest from foreign jobseekers [post-Brexit and Covid].”

Pub group Young’s stopped its furlough take-up on indoor reopening on May 17 and is currently recruiting for around 500 staff. Chief executive, Patrick Dardis, believes wage rises will be short term as “once all [Government] financial support is withdrawn, unfortunately we will see more closures and resulting job losses” - leading to a larger pool of workers.

Dardis warned that many firms may not be able to afford long-term wage rises and their cost inflation, and urged ministers to stick to the roadmap. He also called on Government to help companies hike wages for the sector’s lowest paid staff in the longer term by abolishing business rates and “ensuring” companies direct cash saved to raises.

Former Deliveroo MD, Daniel Warne, operates brand Sessions Market, which runs a large seafront food hall in Brighton.

Warne said the company is finding it “very hard to recruit, particularly more specialised roles, like quality chefs” and believes wage increases in the short-term were “inevitable”. He argues that the industry also needs to be more innovative to attract staff going forward.

The CEO is currently paying £1 for every order his food hall brands deliver, with the cash going towards recruitment and retention of chefs.

“We feel schemes like this, which reward output, can have a role to play [in solving the crisis] alongside the security of higher wages,” he said.

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