What roles will be in demand and what are the biggest challenges facing the industry as hospitality wakes up?
Ask a random group of people to list the sectors they believe to have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and most, if not all, will include hospitality in that list. As a nation of foodies who enjoy the occasional tipple, seeing our local pubs, clubs, restaurants, and hotels forced into shutting their doors was one of the more difficult pills for us to swallow.
Now, months on from the start of lockdown, and with restrictions starting to ease, Search Hospitality conducted a survey to begin piecing together a general picture of the extent of the impact the hospitality sector sustained, the challenges going forward, and the roles that will continue to be in demand.
The forecasted hospitality recruitment demand
We asked respondents of the survey to share with us their forecasts for recruitment demand as we slowly emerge from lockdown. Though a decrease had been expected, it still came as a shock to see 59% reporting this to be the case. Many of those businesses that had been hit the hardest, yet were able to survive, are commencing their rebuilds slowly and with caution which is including a tentative approach to taking on new staff. This, we believe, would account for so many forecasting a decrease in recruitment needs.
Though fewer in number, almost a third (29%) of respondents told us that they expected their recruitment needs to remain the same as they were prior to lockdown and 12% said they expected an increase.
To acquire a deeper insight into what these figures tell us, we asked the respondents about their current levels of recruitment. It was through this line of questioning that a more positive picture emerged. Although just over a third (35%) did tell us that they had no plans to recruit for the remainder of 2020 or for 2021, the rest told us different.
18% reported that, though they had no plans to recruit this year, they expected to make appointments in 2021 and over a third (35%) reported that they planned to begin recruiting again in 2020. The remaining 12%, at the time of asking, were actively recruiting.
The experiences of re-opening for business as lockdown eased
From the figures we collected by asking respondents about their recruitment forecasts, we can see that the hospitality industry has been dealt a severe blow, but it has affected some more than others. The general picture points to around half having had real difficulties while the other half are already in a position to resume recruitment, if not recruiting already.
It would therefore stand to reason that the experiences of re-opening as lockdown has eased would reveal a similarly equal spread. This is indeed what the results showed.
Though regrettably, 34% of respondents reported that their experiences of re-opening had been either ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’, they represent the minority.
Otherwise, 17% reported a ‘neutral – no change’ in experiences, suggesting business has resumed as usual and 48% described their experiences as being either ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’. Read our interview with Revolution Bars and learn about their experiences of lockdown and re-opeing.
To put it another way, nearly two thirds (65%) of the hospitality businesses we surveyed are reporting that business has resumed to levels comparable with pre-lockdown or are finding that their experiences have been markedly positive. This should inspire optimism for the sector as a whole as the economy begins moving again.
To take the survey to an even more granular level, we also asked respondents to share with us what roles they expected to be most in demand going forward.
Of those that responded, the theme was very much consistent - Chefs are in demand. Though other roles were highlighted, such as Health Care Assistants, housekeeping roles, and admin positions, it was the role of chef that came up again and again.
In light of the stages that lockdown has been eased, this would make sense. Many establishments that serve both food and drink opened their bars first. As confidence to re-open kitchens has grown, chefs who were let go are needed again.
Hospitality in a post-lockdown world
Exactly what the near future of hospitality in Britain will look like remains unclear. Current social distancing rules, a mandate on mask-wearing, anxieties many still harbour about visiting public spaces, and the threat of a second wave will all impact the sector in their own ways.
However, it is important to look at the positives as well. 65% of businesses are back to normal or are experiencing re-opening positively, the majority of businesses either have plans to begin recruiting or are doing already, and chefs in particular should find plenty of opportunities.
Ultimately, it is control of the virus that is the most important factor. If that can be achieved, the hospitality sector should soon be back to doing what they do best.
Can we support you with Hospitality recruitment?
As hospitality reawakens, we are here to help. Whether your looking to recruit or interested in learning more about how your local market is recovering, then we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with Search Hosiptality today.
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