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Nearly 40% of UK hospitality businesses facing skilled worker shortage

Analysis of UK government data has shown that hospitality businesses in the country are the worst affected by increasing shortages of skilled staff

37.4% of businesses in the accommodation and food industries are experiencing skilled labour shortages | Photo credit: Peter Pivák

Nearly 40% of hospitality businesses in the UK are facing difficulties recruiting skilled staff, according to research from digital marketing agency Koozai.

The analysis of Office of National Statistics data found that 37.4% of businesses operating in the accommodation and food industries are experiencing skilled labour shortages, significantly higher than construction (25%), transport (16%) and real estate (14%).

Additionally, more than one in ten businesses (12%) in the wholesale and retail trade are also facing staffing issues.

"Our study suggests hospitality businesses may be experiencing particular difficulties in recruiting enough staff with the right skills right now, just as predictions of recession and increased energy costs loom large over the national economy," said Sophie Roberts, Managing Director, Koozai.

The Learning and Work Institute forecasts the UK skills shortage to cost the country £120bn ($137bn) by 2030 amid a shortfall of 2.5 million highly skilled workers.

The limitations on European labour after the UK’s exit from the EU and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK prompted UK-based Costa Coffee and Pret A Manger to announce significant investments to boost worker pay.

In a bid to fill vacant roles and retain staff, Costa Coffee revealed in September 2021 that all 14,500 of its team members in UK company-owned stores would receive a 5% pay rise. In January 2022 Pret A Manger said it would invest more than £9.2m ($12.6m) to raise wages for 8,000 of its UK store staff from £9.40 ($10.77) up to £10.15 ($11.63) per hour.

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