One in six (16%) hospitality jobs currently lie vacant, highlighting the mounting labour crisis, according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth.
The exclusive third-quarter reveals that 96% of business leaders now envisage shortages in either front or back of house roles, and nearly three quarters (73%) in both.
Fewer than one in five (18%) leaders feels confident about their recruitment and retention over the next 12 months—a dramatic collapse from the 67% who felt confident in the last Business Confidence Survey just three months ago.
Three in five (59%) now anticipate hiring staff at a greater rate than usual this year—up by 15 percentage points from the last survey.
Labour has been further hit by absences, with leaders reporting that an average of 6% of staff are currently in isolation and unable to work.
The shortage of staff is prompting business leaders to step up efforts to attract and keep hold of staff. Three quarters say they have offered better pay (76%) and stepped up their levels of communication (75%) as part of their retention strategies, while two thirds have tried to cultivate the right working culture (67%) and support staff wellbeing and mental health (66%).
The use of pay as a retention tool is rapidly inflating wage bills across the hospitality sector, which already faces mounting food, drink, supply and utility costs. Leaders who have increased pay have done so by an average of 11% for current staff, and by 13% for newly hired team members.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, comments: “These figures illustrate the full scale of hospitality’s recruitment and retention crisis. Thousands of businesses are now critically short of staff, while many of those who have sufficient labour face a fight to keep hold of it. Gaps at front and back of house and fast-rising wage costs threaten to derail the industry’s recovery, and sustained, targeted government support is now urgently needed to tackle the problem.”