Economic Affairs Committee launches new inquiry on labour shortages

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Economic Affairs Committee launches new inquiry on labour shortages

Related tags: Recruitment, Jobs, Staff, Hospitality, Legislation, House of lords

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has put out a call for written submissions to its new inquiry on recent trends in the UK labour market.

The committee, chaired by Lord Bridges of Headley, is seeking to find out how large reductions in the size of the labour force are; which sectors and regions are most affected; and what factors are contributing to reductions in the size of the labour force.

Hospitality is currently facing an unprecedented staffing crisis, with the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that accommodation and food service activities saw the largest increase in vacancies between April and June this year, with the number of available jobs rising a further 10,200 to top 175,000 in total.

New Barclays research, published earlier this week as part of its UK Hospitality Challenges report, found that sourcing and retaining the right staff remains one of the biggest obstacles to the sector’s post-pandemic recovery​.

Vacancies have soared as the number of people in the UK workforce has plunged by 1.9% since just before the pandemic. Illness, early retirement and care responsibilities have removed some workers; while for the hospitality industry, the dampening effect of Brexit on immigration has been a particular factor.

Cleaners, front-of-house staff and waitstaff are proving the hardest to recruit, while the survey suggests that demand for chefs and kitchen staff is beginning to level off.

One key way businesses are working to plug the gap is through widespread pay rises. housekeeping staff and bar staff are amongst the biggest winners this year so far with wages rising by 7.4% and 7.3%, respectively, on average. The report says pay rises translate to an estimated £1,164 per year extra for those in fulltime waiting roles, for example, and £1,196 for kitchen staff.

But it’s not just about pay. Businesses are also using other ways to lure potential employees, such as embracing flexible working (23%), investing in staff welfare initiatives (22%) and introducing bonuses (22%).

As part of its enquiry, the Economic Affairs Committee will examine what effect are wage levels having on the supply of labour; and look at how recent changes in the UK’s labour supply compare with those in other developed countries.

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Friday 23 September 2022.

Read the call for evidence and find out how to submit evidence here​.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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