After months of waiting, the hospitality sector will finally reopen its doors again with apparent normality, and likely with no covid tests or vaccine passports in sight – hooray! British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that the current situation in the United Kingdom “looks good” to be able to irreversibly lift all restrictions on July 19, the so-called “Freedom Day”, after having to delay the date for four weeks.

The partial reopening of hospitality on May 6 has caused an overwhelming wave of bookings in restaurants and pubs across the country. While having the freedom of booking a table has been a huge breath of fresh air for both customers and the hospitality industry, some venues have come under pressure to meet the ‘zero to one hundred’ demand due to staffing shortages. This is why not everyone will be jumping for joy on Freedom Day as some venues do not believe they have enough staff to open their doors.

What are the reasons for the staff shortages?

The reasons for such shortages are varied but there seem to be three main reasons behind the shortfall of around 188,000 workers, with front-of-house staff and chefs being particularly affected: 

  • Brexit: many workers had to return to their home countries due to the difficulty in regulating their employment status after Brexit. In the same way that many potential workers have stopped coming to the country.
  • Pandemic: many foreign workers returned to their home countries at the beginning of the pandemic and have not been able to return due to travel restrictions. 
  • Uncertainty: this sentiment predominates in the sector and pushes many people to seek work in other sectors where the grass may appear greener.

This staff crisis not only affects the owners of pubs or restaurants but also affects the workers themselves. The hospitality workers who are working are having to work longer hours to compensate for the under-staffed industry, under more stressful conditions making them at risk of being subject to burnouts.

Boris Johnson recently said that “the most important thing” for the national economy and to pay for the recovery is to ensure that it continues to “open (society), in a cautious but irreversible way, and make the economy move again”. “That is the government’s priority, and we are working hard on it,” said the conservative leader.


What happens next?

The hospitality sector is seeking solutions asking the government to renew its list of shortage occupations and to consider a visa scheme for workers who would not qualify under the points-based system in a bid to ease staffing pressures. Government sources assure that they are working to “understand the impact of Brexit and the pandemic in this sector” and that they are “doing everything [they] can to support hospitality to recover”. They add that their “dedicated work coaches are supporting people into work, including into hospitality, and through the Kickstart Scheme [they are] offering generous incentives to employers to recruit, with hundreds of young people starting work every day”.

Latest statistics from the job site Indeed show that the number of London vacancies posted in hospitality categories – listings for pub, restaurant and bar staff – have increased by almost 600 per cent from February 22nd, the day Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of lockdown. This could mean that for job searchers, the hospitality sector could offer an easy and quick solution for employment. The lack of both experienced and inexperienced staff that could fill endless positions in the industry means that now, more than ever, jobseekers stand a higher chance of landing a well-paying role, say experts.

At Posh Cockney, also experts in recruitment in hospitality, we encourage people to pursue a career in the exciting world of hospitality as opportunities may never be as fruitful as of now, in a world where people seeking hospitality jobs have the upper hand. 

Looking for the perfect candidate for your job vacancy? Or are you a skilled hospitality worker seeking your next dream job? Get in touch with us today.