Sacha Lord: 'We must work internally to aid staff retention'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Sacha Lord calls on operators to commit to paying the living wage

Related tags: Staff, Recruitment, Living wage, Sacha Lord, Employment

Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester's night time economy adviser, has called on operators to commit to paying the living wage, saying the sector must 'work internally to aid staff retention'.

Speaking ahead of a meeting yesterday (29 June) with trade union Unite to discuss the hospitality sector's staffing drought, Lord said he was urging venues to ensure the right processes and pay rates are in place to attract and retain workers.

"It's a difficult time at the moment, but it's a cyclical process - if you have motivated, happy staff, the service is better and the customer experience is better," he said. 

"We can't be naive to the fact that if staff aren't treated fairly, and this includes paying living wage, they will walk. They'll move to sectors which are paying fairly, committing to hours, and give them a good work life balance. 

"The hospitality sector does need support, and we will continue to lobby hard for that, but we can't rely on that alone. We must also work internally to aid staff retention, boost morale and attract new staff into our sector."

Earlier this month, the ONS revealed more than a tenth of the 1.3 million job vacancies nationwide can be attributed to hospitality, which currently has more than 174,000 vacancies on offer​ - a record high,  according to the ONS.  

Hospitality businesses also recorded 83% more vacancies over the three months to May than over the same period in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic; while staff shortages have caused nearly 45% of operators to cut trading hours, according to UKHospitality.

Commenting on the 2,000 roles available in Greater Manchester's hospitality sector, Lord highlighted current vacancies at Escape to Freight Island, AO Arena, Rio Ferdinand's Rosso Restaurant, renowned tapas resturant El Gato Negro, The Oast House, Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, and Dakota Hotel, which are all recruiting above living wage.

"The opportunities in the hospitality sector are huge at the moment, whether that's for front of house roles, chefs, bartenders, kitchen porters, promoters, or assistant managers," he continued.  

"I know many people who say working behind the bar was the best job they've ever had, and there are huge opportunities right now, especially for part time student roles. These jobs won't just give them valuable experience when they choose to move into full time employment, but the social experiences which we all know have been massively missed in the past two years."

A call to introduce a dedicated hospitality visa to attract overseas workers back into the UK and plug staff shortages has been tabled by the Night Time Industries Association, UKHospitality and Lord, but has not yet been backed.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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