Concerns over the impact of Brexit, along with record levels of employment, are putting a strain on the hospitality industry, with many companies struggling to fill vacancies with experienced staff. As the Government pushes forward with the process of leaving the EU, what will the future impact be on the sector?
Reliance on migrant workers
Restaurants, and other parts of the hospitality industry, rely heavily on a skilled European workforce and there are concerns that when we leave the EU, it will have a negative impact on the flow of workers coming to the UK. Some are already changing or delaying their plans, in order to see what the effect of Brexit will be on foreign workers.
A report from KPMG, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association, ‘Labour Migration in the Hospitality Sector’, highlighted that as many as 24% of the industry’s workforce come from EU countries. The figure rises to 75% for waiters and waitresses and 37% for housekeeping staff and there could be a shortfall of one million workers in the 10 years after Brexit, if EU migration drops to 0% after 2019.
As well as focussing on other areas of the business, such as the purchase of commercial freezer and chiller equipment, from suppliers such as www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk, restaurants currently have to deal with over 100,000 vacancies, which they are finding it increasingly hard to fill.
The effect of Brexit on the UK labour market is compounded by the fact that the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1975. This means that any sudden changes are having a much more severe and wide ranging impact.
The hospitality industry understands that as part of the EU negations, there needs to be a change to the immigration policy, but they have warned the Government about putting an abrupt stop to workers coming to the UK freely from EU countries. The effects of this are already being seen, even though no definite decisions have yet been made.
According to data from the job site Adzuna, over the course of the year, there has been a 16.3% rise in the number of advertised vacancies in the sector. This comes at a time when the industry is performing well overall, as more UK consumers choose to holiday at home, because of the unfavourable exchange rates.