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Gloucestershire Business News

Skills shortage as Gloucestershire hospitality bounces back

The hospitality industry is facing a dramatic skills shortage as hotels, pubs, restaurants and the wider leisure industry bounces back from the pandemic lockdowns, according to a Gloucestershire recruiter.

Trish Hay, Owner Director, First Base employment agency, said: "We are now emerging quickly from the deepest recession since World War Two and whilst we in business have been planning for the end of lockdown and the easing of restrictions, our employees have been too.

"The hospitality industry has been hit more than most during lockdown and is now facing a dramatic shortage in skills."

Employers in the hospitality sector are now taking on staff at the strongest since 2015, according to a CBI survey.

Many chefs, front of house staff, concierge and general managers have been furloughed or forced to source alternative employment during the lockdown and the consistent hours of work, the increase in pay and the work life balance may mean that they stay where they are.

Trish added: "Even for those that love hospitality; the variety, the pressure, the creativity, it's now decision time. Do they stay in their new-found job roles if they've been lucky enough to find something, or do they return to a sector that they know and love?"

Optimism across the service sector improved significantly in the three months to May according to the latest quarterly Service Sector Survey from the CBI.

Business and professional services also saw the fastest growth in five years. Headcount is tipped to continue growing in the next three months, with business and professional services growth set to accelerate further.

Ben Jones, CBI Principal Economist, said: "With the reopening roadmap on track and the vaccine rollout delivering, it's no surprise to see an uptick in optimism across the sector. Both sub-sectors are expecting strong business growth over the next few months as restrictions continue to lift.

"Strong intentions for IT spending point to a sector that has adapted and is adapting to new ways of working and service delivery. Clarity on future social distancing requirements and workplace testing would go further towards smoothing the route to recovery."

Trish Hay, First Base employment, says that jobseekers have also become more fussy about what sort of jobs they want.

She said: "As we predicted in the midst of the pandemic, the employment sector has changed dramatically and this change is likely to continue until Covid is all but a distant memory.

"Candidates have reassessed, refocussed and reconsidered their options and there are now swathes of people who have redefined what they want from their careers; their work life balance, flexibility in where they work and the type of work they want to do.

"I was surprised that during the peak of lockdown, candidates were still moving - my initial concern way back in March 2020, was that we would see people sit tight, however, this was not the case.

"People moved for varying reasons; they felt unsettled, furlough wasn't handled well in some instances and some employers appeared to their staff to have flouted the government's guidance to varying degrees.

"Each of us had a lot of learning to do and some didn't make it."

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