12-point plan to tackle hospitality sector staffing crisis

Trade body UKHospitality has unveiled a new 12-point strategy to tackle the current staffing crisis facing the hospitality industry following more than a year of closures and severely restricted trading.

Recent UKHospitality research found there was a shortage of front-of-house staff and chefs. To address this shortage UKHospitality has created a plan outlining what both employers can do and how the Government can support these efforts.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “Hospitality offers a wonderfully diverse range of roles and exciting careers and is a stable employer for millions of people across the UK. Staff at all levels play a crucial role delivering world-class hospitality at the very heart of their communities, with employers large and small offering high-class training schemes, apprenticeships and career development pathways.

“However, it’s clear that we need to attract new people to our sector and highlight the benefits of a job or career in hospitality. Prior to the pandemic, we employed 3.2m people and were the third largest private sector employer in the UK.

“By working closely with Government on implementing this plan, the sector can restore confidence and bounce back even stronger, so hospitality is once again seen as a dynamic and exciting sector of growth, and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.”

The 12-point plan includes:

Short-term

  1. Government to commit as early as possible to remove all restrictions and restore confidence in working in the sector.
  2. Government – central and local – and industry to highlight the looming deadline for Settled Status applications (30th June) and reassure workers overseas that they can return.
  3. Industry to work closely with DWP and others to promote jobs and careers in the sector, with Government ministers talking up the sector at every opportunity.
  4. Industry to engage with secondary schools, colleges and universities to encourage their students into the sector when term finishes.
  5. Industry will continue to work in collaboration with DWP to make sure Kickstart works to the fullest for young people and the sector
  6. HMT to immediately freeze the liquidation of employers’ Apprenticeship Levy funding – to allow industry to invest in high-quality training.
  7. UKH to facilitate additional promotion of CareerScope website.
  8. Hospitality and tourism sector to launch recruitment and retention campaign.

Medium-term

  1. Expedite the introduction of a Catering T-level and commit to a Hospitality T-level.
  2. Government to amend the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and ensure that chefs and other vital roles are returned to the list – alongside a Youth Mobility Scheme.
  3. Make permanent the reduced rate of VAT and double the Employer National Insurance Contribution threshold to support businesses to grow and pay higher wages.

Longer-term

  1. Review the impact of the new immigration system and its effect on the competitiveness and recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy.