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National Living Wage has not hurt hospitality recruitment


National Living Wage has not hurt hospitality recruitment

National Living Wage has not hurt hospitality recruitment

It's no secret that the hospitality sector is facing something of a recruitment crisis at the moment, with every kind of operator, from Indian takeaways to Michelin starred restaurants, having problems filling vacancies.

The plan to introduce a National Living Wage of £7.20 for those aged 25 and over caused a great deal of trepidation in the industry. Operators were concerned that they would be forced to make staff cuts or scale back on recruitment to cover the costs, exacerbating the problem further.

Fortunately, two months into the introduction of the Living Wage it seems as though the impact on hospitality recruitment has been negligible. Contrary to earlier fears, a recruitment survey from Big Hospitality reveals that 29% of small businesses in the industry are actually increasing salaries, rather than cutting them. Most operators feel the increased wage has made no difference to their recruitment outlook, with 68% of business owners and managers saying it has not been responsible for any changes to staffing since being introduced.

However, the survey also revealed that recruitment issues are still affecting business growth across the sector. A significant proportion (63%) of respondents were currently searching for new staff to expand their businesses whilst nearly half (44%) found recruitment difficulties were proving a hindrance to expansion efforts.

The majority of respondents (59%) cited a lack of skilled candidates as the main issue hampering recruitment and not, as previously feared, the rise in wages. In fact, salary did not appear to rate highly as a recruitment issue at all, with just 18% choosing this as a key problem.

So, which roles are the most difficult to fill? Chefs top the list according to 56% of respondents, whilst front-of-house are just behind with 29% of the votes.

It was also revealed that, to combat the difficulties in finding skilled candidates to fill vacancies, many hospitality operators had chosen to introduce specialised training schemes over the past 12 months in order to ensure their staff were properly equipped moving forwards. This was found to have the additional benefit of boosting staff retention, negating the need to search for new candidates to fill empty roles.

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