One in ten hospitality workers consider leaving the UK due to Brexit

KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 24: A European Union flag, with a hole cut in the middle, flies at half-mast outside a home in Knutsford Cheshire after today’s historic referendum on June 24, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The results from the historic EU referendum has now been declared and the United Kingdom has voted to LEAVE the European Union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

UK hospitality industry could face significant staff shortages, with one in ten workers working in restaurants, catering, bars and hotels thinking about leaving the UK because of Brexit.

This is according to a new survey launched by workforce collaboration software company Planday.

The results are a stark contrast to hospitality managers’ expectations that only around 4% of their workers are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit.

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3% of hospitality managers predict that they will be forced to close their businesses as a result of Brexit, which nationally could equate to around a £1.1 billion loss for the economy.

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of hospitality managers find recruitment harder now than in April 2017 and 16% of hospitality managers do not think they will be able to fulfil their staffing requirements over the next five years with domestic workers.

John Coldicutt, chief commercial officer for Planday commented: “These findings show to us the depth of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy, with the hospitality industry being hit especially hard.  There’s clearly false confidence within the hospitality sector with almost three times as many workers considering leaving as managers expect. Now more than ever it’s crucial that managers make sure they have the right infrastructure in place to engage their employees and build genuine loyalty.”

30% of workers expressed some form of concern about their job as a result of Brexit.

Topping the list were immigration worries, with 24% (equivalent to around 86,500* people nationally) of staff polled who are born outside of the UK concerned that they would be forced to leave.

The other key staff worries amongst all staff focus on expectations of pay decrease (11%) or being made to work longer hours (6%).

To help address some of the issues that Brexit will present, managers in the 76% of firms who say they are Brexit-ready are taking the following action:

  • Training (10%) or upskilling staff (8%)
  • 15% are looking at actively recruiting from different markets like older employees or working parents
  • Increasing salaries (8%), or benefits for staff (4%)
  • 9% are looking at introducing more flexibility to appeal to more workers

Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality commented: “Brexit will present some fundamental challenges to our sector if the changes proposed around immigration are approved, given the sheer number of staff and businesses that would be affected. These results clearly show the need across the sector for forward-planning and we are encouraged to see evidence of the industry stepping up to the challenges ahead through increased training and upskilling as well as the many innovative recruitment strategies we know our members are starting to put in place.”

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