The 12-point plan aims to help attract people to jobs and careers in the sector and fill vacancies, with a focus on finding short-term solutions for the issues the sector is facing. However, it also looks at some medium and long-term actions, outlining what both employers can do and how the Government can support these efforts.
It follows the launch of a new partnership between UKHospitality and the Department for Work & Pensions to promote jobs in hospitality, which saw sessions run by work coaches in every region of England, as well as across Scotland and Wales earlier this month.
Recent research from UKHospitality that found an acute shortage in various roles, particularly front-of-house staff and chefs. This in some areas is preventing venues from opening and forcing businesses to restrict their trading hours, it says, citing an ongoing lack of confidence in the hospitality sector as a key reason for the shortage.
Short-term goals include Government to commit as early as possible to remove all restrictions and restore confidence in working in the sector, and for it to work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions and others to promote jobs and careers in the sector, with Government ministers talking up the sector at every opportunity.
UKHospitality is also calling on the industry to engage with secondary schools, colleges and universities to encourage their students into the sector when term finishes, for the hospitality and tourism sector to launch recruitment and retention campaign, and for the Treasury to freeze immediately freeze the liquidation of employers’ Apprenticeship Levy funding – to allow industry to invest in high-quality training.
In the medium term it is asking the Government to amend the Shortage Occupation List and ensure that chefs and other vital roles are returned to the list – alongside a Youth Mobility Scheme – and to make permanent the reduced rate of VAT as well as double the Employer National Insurance Contribution threshold to support businesses to grow and pay higher wages.
For the longer term it wants the Government to review the impact of the new immigration system and its effect on the competitiveness and recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy.
“Hospitality offers a wonderfully diverse range of roles and exciting careers and is a stable employer for millions of people across the UK,” says Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality.
“Staff at all levels play a crucial role delivering world-class hospitality at the very heart of their communities, with employers large and small offering high-class training schemes, apprenticeships and career development pathways.
“However, it’s clear that we need to attract new people to our sector and highlight the benefits of a job or career in hospitality. Prior to the pandemic, we employed 3.2m people and were the third largest private sector employer in the UK.
“By working closely with Government on implementing this plan, the sector can restore confidence and bounce back even stronger, so hospitality is once again seen as a dynamic and exciting sector of growth, and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.”