The hospitality and leisure sector suffered immensely during the pandemic, with businesses having to close their doors during the lockdowns. This caused many professionals to change career paths. While this was a temporary move for some, many professionals found other sectors offered a better work-life balance, higher remuneration, and more sociable hours, and have therefore not returned to the sector.
In 2023, the biggest challenge for hospitality and leisure businesses will be the economic climate, as everyone feels the pinch. High energy bills, increased supply chain costs, and the cost-of-living crisis mean that consumers will ultimately be spending less of their money on hospitality and leisure activities.
Business overheads are a big worry for most in the sector. VAT has increased to 20% since April 2022, business rates remain high, staff costs have skyrocketed, and the energy crisis has forced some companies to think twice about staying open. Quality produce from the EU has also increased in price, and supply has slowed down. However, this could be a great opportunity to change to UK suppliers – reducing your impact on the environment and improving your balance sheet.
How to attract and retain staff this year
Despite these challenges, it has been great to see the sector bounce back as well as it has. The increased return to workplaces will give many hospitality operators a boost in demand. People are also travelling across the world again, and the weak pound has made the UK even more attractive for tourists, businesses, and investment. We are starting to see a slow return of former hospitality workers to the industry as professionals have missed using their hard-earned skills and daily interaction with consumers. However, many are still struggling to entice people back to the sector.
Here are some ways businesses can attract and retain talent this year:
Minimise recruitment process
Many hospitality workers will look for opportunities with an immediate start date so try and make your recruitment process quick and efficient. Hospitality workers are in high demand, especially chefs, so lengthy hiring processes will likely see companies lose out on potential employees.
Engage with temporary workers
It’s likely that we will see a high demand for temporary workers to fill urgent positions and a decrease in the permanents market, as businesses face rising costs. Temporary employees are a great way to fill urgent requirements and quickly.
Continue to fight for government support
Businesses in the sector need to keep pushing the government to review the immigration policy in order to attract great candidates from overseas, as currently the shortage occupation list has not been extended to hospitality workers.
Offer enticing benefits
We are operating in a candidate-short market and heads get turned very easily by great offers and enticing benefits. Flexible shift patterns, progression opportunities, and reward schemes are all popular with employees.
Prior to the pandemic, many hospitality workers were used to working long, often unsociable, hours and six-day working weeks, but many are now seeking a better work-life balance. Employers that can guarantee a five-day working week and flexible hours are the most likely to have success with securing talent.
Hospitality and leisure businesses are in a great position to offer excellent discounts and rewards, such as free lunches and discounts in venues. Extending these perks to family members is also a great way to increase business as well as rewarding employees.
Ensure salaries are competitive
Pay is still a huge deciding factor when professionals are seeking new opportunities, and always will be. Using our 2023 hospitality and leisure salary guide, you can ensure that the salaries you offer match up with the regional average.
For more information on salaries and benefits in the hospitality and leisure sector, download our free 2023 salary guide now.