New data reveals fresh concerns for the hospitality sector ahead of Brexit

13 June 2018

A new survey of managers and workers in the hospitality sector, published this week by YouGov (on behalf of Planday), has revealed fresh concerns about the potential shortage of talent and staff in the face of Brexit.

Results showed that almost 50% of managers in the sector want the Government to offer some kind of assistance to hospitality businesses, and 37% of those polled think more understanding is needed from the Government about the needs of non-UK EU workers in the sector.

Other key findings include:

  • 11% of workers are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit (whilst only 4% of managers believe this is the case)
  • 18% of managers in the industry are finding recruitment more challenging than last year.

One of the principal uncertainties around Brexit concerns staff – both for UK businesses reliant on EU workers and UK businesses looking to establish themselves in the EU.

For the former, companies should review existing staff arrangements and monitor training and recruitment needs, but try to avoid making decisions based on speculation of EU workers’ rights in the UK and “freedom of movement”.  Add to this the increased payroll costs arising from the National Living wage and many hotels and restaurants are under increased pressure, aside from the challenge of rising property costs.

Clearly the difference in views from workers and managers in the sector could spell trouble for the industry, which contributed £73 billion to the UK economy last year – £161 billion including indirect impact [UKHospitality research].

Obviously the Brexit impact goes far beyond staff shortage concerns. Today JD Wetherspoon has announced plans to ensure its products will be sourced from the UK and non-EU producers wherever possible, including exchanging Champagne for UK sparkling wines. This move towards local food and ingredients (“Best of British”) is an option for those businesses that have been adversely affected by the weaker pound since 2016 if they can be more flexible in their product offering.

If you would like any advice about the topics covered in this article, please contact Martin Jones.