The global pandemic has proven immensely challenging for the hospitality industry. And now, as we’ve embraced ‘the new normal’, businesses not yet fully recovered from the strain are facing even more challenges in the form of Brexit, staff shortages and rising inflation.

In a recent report conducted by Sommet Education, titled ‘The State of Hospitality 2022’, industry leaders from around the globe assessed the current landscape and what the future holds for the sector. We’ve taken a deep dive to see what the findings mean for your business.

A mass skills shortage

One of the biggest challenges for hospitality businesses is huge staff shortages – along with the lack of a skilled workforce. Since Brexit and its eradication of the free movement rule, coming to the UK is much less appealing to migrant workers.

Of this, CEO of the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) Jane Pendlebury said, “Within continental Europe, hospitality is often regarded as a ‘noble’ profession and something to be proud of – but UK attitudes tend to see it as a stop gap, a short-term option.” She also added that the return of EU workers to their home countries has left the UK with “a shortfall”.

Discussing the lasting effects of the pandemic, Maribel Rodriguez, Senior Vice President of Membership & Commercial at the World Travel & Tourism Council, put staff shortages down to the fact that “a number of furloughed or laid off Travel & Tourism employees moved to other sectors or out of the labour force entirely during the crisis”.

The need for greater diversity

Another question presented to hospitality professionals throughout Sommet Education’s report was the issue of meeting diversity goals within the industry, and fostering inclusive working environments.

HVS President (South Asia) Mandeep S. Lamba said, “While the hospitality industry has better diversity in recruitment than most other industries, renewing our focus on greater inclusion and diversity will only benefit us.” He continued to explain that businesses that strive to be more ethical in their recruitment have been proven to succeed thanks to boosts in efficiency.

A focus on attraction and retention

So, what steps can hospitality take to begin to address these two issues? When asked how the industry can combat staff shortages, Steven Daines, Chief Talent & Culture Officer at Accor, advised “offering incentives to attract and retain employees”. He went on to say that development and mobility opportunities are key to career progression and, ultimately, staff retention.

Jane Pendlebury was keen to remind hospitality staff why they chose to pursue careers in the food and drink industry. “We’re actively pushing #WhyILoveHospitality as a concept,” she said, “urging people to highlight and shout about just what it is that makes them love the industry.”

Support from public authorities

And what external support can restaurants, bars and hotels expect? Throughout the pandemic, several strategies were put in place to aid the hospitality industry – the furlough scheme and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative among them. Despite these efforts, however, we’re still seeing a shift in workers moving to other sectors.

Steven Daines insists that labour shortages must be tackled by giving the younger generation “a thirst for the hospitality sector”, arguing that exempting the industry from payroll taxes would facilitate this. Daines also suggests more regulation of apprenticeship schemes.

In a similar vein, Jane Pendlebury advocated for a reduction in VAT to help businesses stay afloat in the current economic climate. Speaking on how valued hospitality is as an industry, and how education providers can encourage more young people to pursue their career in hospitality, she called for more appreciation for the sector – along with more opportunities for personal growth to build long-term staff loyalty.

Your next steps with Nabarro Poole

Here at Nabarro Poole, we’ve weathered more than a decade of shifting economies and rising costs. We’re seasoned financial advisors with specialist experience in the hospitality industry, and our team has the tools and expertise to help you take a proactive approach. 

If you’d like to discuss the themes of Sommet Education’s report with the team that knows best, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

📷 : Sommet Education