Research reveals UK-wide shortage of 200,000 hospitality workers as Sturgeon set to announce next stage of lockdown easing later today

The UK hospitality industry is facing a major staffing crisis says new analysis from UKHospitality that puts the shortage at almost 200,000 workers, as Nicola Sturgeon prepares to announce later today whether the next stage of Scotland’s lockdown easing can go ahead next weekUnder the Scottish government’s roadmap, areas in level two are due to move to level one from 7 June and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) is urging governments to stick to roadmaps.

But Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf warned that there could be a delay in certain parts of Scotland where Covid cases are rising rapidly on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

The survey of hundreds of UK hospitality operators by the trade body showed the shortage of front-of-house staff and chefs is a big problem. Four in five (80%) of those surveyed reported vacancies for front-of-house roles, such as waiting and bar staff, and 85% need chefs.

Some 47% have housekeeping vacancies and 43% are looking for assistant or general managers.

The survey suggested a current vacancy rate across the sector of 9%, which implies a shortage of 188,000 workers.

Said Kate Nicholls, “The government must restore confidence in the hospitality sector so it is again seen as a stable employer and provider of fulfilling careers. To facilitate this, it must stick to the reopening roadmap.

“Beyond this, the single biggest act of support government could give would be to encourage more UK-based workers to join the hospitality sector. It is also time for the government to review its list of shortage occupations and consider the introduction of an Australian-style visa scheme to enable the workers we need, who don’t meet the point-based system, to come and work here.”

The survey showed for overseas workers, many of whom returned home at the beginning of the pandemic, travel restrictions were a primary reason they had chosen not to return to the UK. Almost a fifth said the cost of quarantine on return was preventing them from coming back.