An unprecedented drought – How to recruit Hospitality Staff Post Covid?

As the industry is set to gear up to fully re-opening there is a crisis looming within hospitality and the problem is recruitment.

In a recent survey for hospitality operators the findings implied that there was a shortage of around 188,000 workers. This situation isn’t helped by the easing of the restrictions which further adds to the woes of business leaders as many are terrified about how they will manage the extra covers.

Working in this sector is hard, the hours are long, unsociable and not conducive to a quality way of life. Pay has been traditionally low and tip distribution also now diminishes a very meagre return. Many furloughed staff have decided to return to their country of origin in the hope of being treated better.

All the traditional methods of recruitment have been deployed, agencies engaged and even with increased offers of commission the roles are remaining unfilled. Herein lies the problem. The United Kingdom has now turned into a workers’ market. This will of course have a knock-on effect for the customer, as no doubt the cost of eating out will have to be increased in order for the future of hospitality to be sustainable.

So how do you address the issue? 

Stressed management teams are looking at all options to try and attract applicants and offering many enhanced benefits – everything from pet bereavement leave to free flu jabs, complimentary food & drinks to a day off for your birthday. The options around staff perks are endless and something that needs further exploring.

There’s no getting away from the fact that working in hospitality can be tough and is physically demanding.  Tinkering with benefits can help make a company more attractive, however manageable shifts that offer staff an opportunity for a work life balance (something that many experienced for the first time during the lockdowns) can also make a huge difference. There is a much greater need for a well-balanced life and time has become a much more precious commodity.  A four day a week model is something that can and should definitely be explored.

Fair pay, a positive culture, recognition and development opportunities are what will ensure team members are retained in the future – and then employees can often be advocates for the business, assisting with recruitment through their own contacts.

At GJC our experienced hospitality experts have over 100 years collective experience within the industry and have a genuine understanding of the very real challenges the industry is facing, as they have all individually faced the same issues in their many and varied roles across the sector.

With our associate’s wide personal networks and established links with specialist recruitment consultants, we have unique leverage to find solutions for hard to fill vacancies.  Additionally, with our combined operational expertise we can identify efficiencies and suggest alterations to service that can lighten the load for overwhelmed and stretched teams, whilst importantly protecting customer service standards. In addition to the above our associates through their vast experience have built considerable relationships with specialist agencies who focus on the welfare of their employees through various benefits schemes, which again plays a heavy role in staff retention.

Our industry specialists are skilled at developing a culture to attract and retain staff, working with business owners to translate the company DNA into a compelling narrative that guides the focus, direction and operational standards for employees, and in turn offers recognition and reward for this high performance.


Written by: GJC Advisory’s Hospitality Team