9 out of 10 CEOs are concerned about the shortage of available talent

Will it force Hospitality to make a better argument for itself?

Research is indicating that operations all across the country are struggling to attract and recruit much-needed talent. It has become a perfect storm with the impact of Brexit, furlough and the enforced lockdowns have all impacted in different ways. It is said that close to 50% of companies expect to recruit to a higher level than envisaged, which is promising, but the challenge will lie in finding the talent.

So what needs to be done?

· One of the concerns has been the pay gap for front-facing staff has been uncompetitive for some time and this has been covered over by the availability of talent from Europe. There are advocates for the need to increase pay models and many expect pay to need to increase by between 15-20%. This naturally impacts on existing models but also prices at a time when there are signs that higher inflation is already beginning to impact.

· The industry will need to make a stronger argument for itself to available talent. This has long been a discussion point, much has been invested and progress has been made but far more needs to be done in making a strong argument for Hospitality as a career choice; more needs to be done in engaging and courting other talent pools.

· Many operational models will naturally change and adapt.

· Operations are naturally going to have to work harder at interacting within their communities and with local colleges.

· Over the last twenty years, many training budgets have consistently declined to almost half of what they were, in relative terms, in the 1990s. This will naturally need to be reversed.

There are no easy answers to the problems to be faced. It is going to require investment and a lot of hard work when it comes to the people piece. A discussion forum last week concluded that:

· Salaries for junior employees will increase by up to 20%

· That training budgets will need to double

· That many operations will reduce opening hours or services

· Prices will naturally rise

However, the argument was that this will force the industry to really come together and make a far stronger argument for why it is such a great industry. Standards and skills have improved so much over the last twenty years so that there is a strong argument to tell. It is just time to tell it.