Hospitality EU worker numbers drop further as Brits fill more roles

Hotel female housekeeping worker with linen

With the hospitality sector continuing to battle labour shortages, new data has found that British workers are filling greater numbers of jobs in pubs, restaurants and hotels than ever before.

The latest figures from Fourth revealed that this trend has been consistent over the last six months, where the number of British workers in the sector has increased markedly.

The proportion of workers from the European Union (EU) has decreased, accelerated by disruption caused by the pandemic, changes to immigration policy and travel restrictions.

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The new data, aggregated from the analysis of more than 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and hotel sectors, reveals that EU workers currently make up 32% of the hospitality workforce, compared to 42% in October 2019, while British workers currently make up 53% of the workforce, compared to 46% in October 2019.

According to Fourth’s data, there has been no furlough ‘cliff edge’ when it comes to job losses; there was only a 10% increase in people leaving the sector at the end of September compared to the end of August.

The restaurant sector has experienced the biggest shift, with British workers currently making up 46% of the total workforce, compared to 40% six months ago in April.

The hotel sector has experienced the smallest shift over the six-month period, likely because the sector hasn’t been able to bounce-back as quickly as restaurants and pubs due to strict travel restrictions remaining in place for longer periods.

The proportion of British hotel workers has still grown from 57% in April to 60% currently; the number of EU workers has dropped from 28% to 24%.

Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “Given the current climate, where labour shortages are continuing to prove incredibly challenging for operators, it’s clear there is a war for talent taking place in the hospitality sector. Vacancy rates are running at record levels and it’s evident the pool of EU workers has significantly reduced. Technology and digital solutions play an important role in navigating these waters, helping operators hire, onboard, engage and retain team members. Businesses will ultimately have to be smart with their labour scheduling strategies to ensure consumer demand continues to be met and the guest experience doesn’t suffer.”

Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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