Fast-growing hospitality must reduce 'dependence' on EU workers

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fast-growing hospitality must reduce 'dependence' on EU workers

Related tags: United kingdom, England

The hospitality industry’s contribution to the UK economy has grown faster than any other sector since the 2008 downturn, but the status of EU staff means its future remains uncertain.

According to data from Ignite Economics, hospitality accounts for nearly one in five of all jobs in the UK and could create an additional 500,000 jobs over the next five years.

The research, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), says that the industry ranks as a top six employer in every region of the UK.

Labour productivity per hour has grown at 3.2%, more than double the growth rate of the overall economy since 2008 and the sector is now the country’s fourth largest employer.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, says the research shows the ‘colossal value of hospitality and tourism to the economy and well being of the country’.

But she added that business rates, the rising National Living Wage and possible impact of Brexit on the flow of European staff means the industry’s outlook remains uncertain.

A recent KPMG study​ warned that the sector could face a shortfall of 60,000 workers per year if EU migration is restricted.

Ibrahim is calling on the government to ‘step up’ and work with businesses to ‘reduce dependence’ on EU workers and help the industry to recruit more UK staff.

“We are the front door to the UK and are fundamental to ensuring the UK remains open for business,” says Ibrahim. 

“With the right strategic support from government, economic stability and access to labour we believe that hospitality and tourism can continue to grow and become a career of choice for more and more people.” 

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