Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Hospitality staff shortage

According to new data from the recruitment site, CV Library1, job postings in April 2021 were up 37% month on month for roles in the hospitality industry, and there was a huge 395% increase compared to the same month last year.

  • CV-Library reports a huge 400% increase in job postings compared to April last year 
  • Business owners fear venue capacities will have to significantly reduce if hires cannot be made 
  • Industry experts reveal 4 ways to attract talent to your hospitality business

According to new data from the recruitment site, CV Library1, job postings in April 2021 were up 37% month on month for roles in the hospitality industry, and there was a huge 395% increase compared to the same month last year. 

Despite the huge influx in job ads, job seekers are clearly remaining hesitant to apply for roles - with 335,000 fewer people employed in the hospitality industry compared to last year, according to the ONS2.

As we approach one month of hospitality venues reopening after the pandemic, business owners are struggling to fill staff vacancies in order to cater to the huge influx in customer demand: 

Emily Lewis, Director at the Lewis Partnership, which operates three hospitality venues in Staffordshire, including the Moathouse, the Dog and Doublet Inn, and the Red Lion at Bradley, comments: “Even with being restricted to outside only service, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the level of demand we’ve seen over the last 3 weeks. This has however presented some challenges with resourcing. Like many others in our industry, as reopening approached we experienced a wave of resignations due to staff deciding to leave the industry and based on our initial expectations for outside reopening, we thought we would be ok. However, it quite quickly became apparent that we needed to recruit.

"Recruitment for chefs and full time front of house staff has proved extremely difficult. We’re seeing low numbers of applications and experiencing high levels of no shows to interviews and trial shifts. Job seekers are understandably weary of applying for jobs in the hospitality industry after the turbulence of the past 13 months, but businesses like mine are at the point where once we do reopen inside, if applicant numbers do not increase we may have to look at limiting our capacity (even further than it already is) to maintain service standards."

Jack Rogers, Co-Owner at Ottos Coffee, in Sevenoaks, London has had a similar experience: “We’ve definitely had difficulty finding staff recently. A lot of people in the industry have been on furlough and have been receiving full pay for a year, without having to work. With a lot of positions being part time in the hospitality industry at the moment, these roles may not be as appealing. 

“Our industry is often viewed as being a ‘stop gap’ before going on to work in other industries. However roles such as baristas or chefs actually require a lot of skills and training, and as such there are huge opportunities to have a very successful career in the hospitality industry. We are currently recruiting for six staff members at the moment, and would welcome people with no experience to start a new career with us.”

George Purnell, founder of Koop+Kraft in Waterlooville, Hampshire, added: “The hospitality industry has a stigma around it as being a quick, easy job that is mainly done by people who are at

college or university, but we need to remove that. 

“A career in hospitality is just as credible and valuable as one in the corporate world. Lots of people can work their way up in the industry and have a long-term, successful path ahead of them.”

So how can business owners attract more talent for roles in the hospitality industry? Below, leading industry experts share their top 4 tips:

Shout about your positive culture 

Kevin Ryan, at the workplace management Platform, Planday, comments: “Just because your business is a bar, restaurant, cafe or hotel, and your staff are incredibly busy, doesn’t mean you can’t create a healthy, open culture within your workplace. 

“Make it really clear when sharing a job ad that by applying for the role - the applicant will be joining a friendly, growing team. Spell out some of the perks that you’re able to offer - whether that be staff social events and team lunches, or giving everyone the opportunity to put forward suggestions on how to grow the business. Could your staff put forward monthly menu suggestions, collabs with other businesses, or take part in staff social media takeovers? It’s important to shout about your culture on social media too, so applicants can clearly see that you practice what you preach.”

Provide upskill opportunities 

Sarah Taylor, expert in hospitality business operations at the leading online training provider, High Speed Training, comments: “A lot of people may be put off applying for roles if they don’t feel they have the adequate skills or experience. 

“If possible, offer to pay for training courses in food hygiene and safety, or health and safety in the workplace. The majority of courses can be taken online and can be completed in a matter of hours, but are crucial in order to carry out tasks safely whilst adhering to regulations. 

“If an applicant has minimal skills but requires more training, or has very little training in the first place, make it clear that you can help them to upskill. You should also make this clear in the job advert itself, so people are more inclined to apply in the first place.”   

Provide a sustainable, flexible working model 

Kevin at Planday continues: “Of course, when you have a shift-based rota, the majority of staff won’t have the option to work from home or remotely. 

“However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a flexible working model that caters to the needs and preferences of each person.  

“Consider creating a hybrid working model that’s typified by scheduling flexibility, using digital staff rota planners or employee scheduling software. This way, employees can set their own availability and swap shifts among themselves so your operations are not affected by last-minute changes in someone’s schedule.

“Again, you can clearly explain you have a flexible working model in the job advert - to appeal to people who are working around childcare demands or other commitments.”

Provide a clear progression path 

“You are recruiting for this specific role, but how will you help team members reach the next step in their career? This isn’t a job, it’s a career, and it’s important applicants feel there are opportunities to develop their skills and progress within the company - just as they would in any other industry.” Added Kevin. 

“Perhaps you could give new team members the opportunity to shadow senior staff members once or twice a week in order to develop their skillset and gain experience in different roles. If you’re able to, share examples of this too in the job ad, and at the interview stage.” 

1 According to data released on 4th April 2021 by CV Library: