A recruitment crisis for the hospitality industry following Brexit could lead to thousands of jobs in the sector being filled by students.
The hospitality industry is heavily reliant on EU workers so recruiters in the sector are already thinking about how they can attract more British workers into hospitality jobs if Brexit leads to stringent immigration controls or forces EU workers to leave the UK. Students at college or university have been identified by some recruiters in the sector as a good demographic to fill their hospitality roles should they not be able to employ as many EU workers as they would like.
A March report by professional service firm KPMG in March found that 3 in 4 waiters and waitresses are from the EU. Similarly, around 1 in 3 housekeepers and 1 in 4 chefs are EU workers.
Overall, around a quarter of all staff working in hospitality jobs come from the EU, and, coupled with the fact that three million people work in the sector, there could be a potential shortfall of around 750,000 people if staff from the continent are forced out of their jobs or never migrate to the UK in the first place.
That figure could be as 1 million a decade on from Brexit if EU migration fell to zero, points out the KPMG report.
One big player in the industry which is already struggling to fill its jobs with British staff is Pret a Manger whose human resources director recently warned that just one in 50 job applicants to the sandwich chain were British. Pret says that 65 per cent of their current UK workforce is from the EU and that it could take them a decade to fill the roles if EU workers leave the company after Brexit.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) warns that many hotels, bars and restaurants could face closure if Brexit prevents staff from EU countries remaining in their jobs
BHA’s Chief Executive, Ufi Ibrahim, said: “It is clear from the KPMG report that hospitality and tourism face major problems in recruitment if there is any major cut in the number of workers allowed to enter from the EU. We want to avoid there being any cliff edge but the Government must be aware that in the medium to long term we will still need considerable numbers of EU workers, who have contributed so much to our industry and the UK economy in general.”
“We have submitted our strategy to Number 10 Downing Street because we are aware of our responsibility to encourage more UK nationals to see the career opportunities available in hospitality and tourism. We do need the Government to play their part too, by recognising our employment needs and recognising how important this industry, the fourth largest, is to the country. We also look forward to working with the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education to implement our strategy as well as the Business Department.”
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Leaving the European Union allows Britain to take control of our immigration system. We are working across Government to identify and develop options to shape our future system to ensure the best possible outcome for the British people.”
“It is logical to consult on proposals to make sure businesses, services and communities can contribute their views. However, as we are currently considering the various options as to how EU migration might work once we have left, it would be wrong to set out further positions at this stage,” added the spokesperson.
Encouraging British workers such as students to apply for job in the hospitality sector, Kathy Dyball, head of marketing at specialist website Caterer.com, said: “The fact is, a job in hospitality often evolves into a highly paid and exciting career with international opportunities. It is just not as simplistic as saying British people don’t want to work in hospitality, there are lots of layers to the challenge around the ongoing skills shortage.”
There’s no need to await the outcome of Brexit if you want to work in hospitality because we already try to match vacancies in the sector with students who can excel in the roles. You can apply for vacancies right now on our page of Catering & Hospitality Jobs In London.
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