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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Brexit biting into labour supply in hospitality sector
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Brexit biting into labour supply in hospitality sector

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Brexit biting into labour supply in hospitality sector

A new study has shown that this year the number of workers in the hospitality sector in the UK from the EU has dropped to 39.4% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 43.4% in the first quarter of 2019.

This highlights the fact that the percentages of British and Rest of the World workers have both risen. However the two periods can hardly be said to be on a level playing field because of the interposition of covid-19 which has brought about the closure of a large percentage of British hospitality businesses and even now many have not yet re-opened which are expected to re-open once indoor hospitality is once more permitted.

Logically one would expect the British percentage to have gone up. We have learned that during the pandemic, foreigners generally have tended to go back home and that coupled with Brexit would suggest that a reduction in EU workers was likely to be expected.

Although there is still talk of “pressure” on hospitality to have enough staff to fill the jobs, with so many licensed premises closures there must now be something of a surfeit of staff for the sector. Indeed one would expect that the percentage of British workers in the sector would rise consistently from now on for some time. It will be quite a while before things settle down post-pandemic and only then will we be able to see what businesses have survived and what the overall jobs position is.

What is good news for the sector is that business has been good since businesses were allowed to open for outdoor service. It has to be borne in mind though that for businesses to get started again there has had to be expenditure in covid safety measures and there has been a considerable emphasis on the adoption of new software to enable “remote ordering” for example and what is more is that this looks like being here to stay. People have rather got used to being able to sit at their table and order drinks using their mobile phones.

So if the weather for the holiday weekend holds out, a chance for everyone to have a break!

Adrian Leopard 30-04-21

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