The hospitality sector is currently “facing a jobs crisis” that threatens to hold back its recovery, according to Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM.
In a statement, which comes one week after venues resumed indoor trading, Newman called on the government to consider the “relaxation of visa barriers” – after Brexit/Covid-19 has reduced the pool of foreign-born workers by almost one million – “acutely impacting” the leisure and hospitality sector.
Recent research by the group also showcased that the number of new job vacancies in the hospitality sector rose by 46% in the last two weeks.
In total, there are 39,167 live vacancies for hospitality jobs in food and drink posted in the last two weeks on Indeed a job website, up by 46% from 26,736 postings the week before.
Newman said: “Uncertainty is leading to zombie employees who are understandably worried about taking the leap into a new job when they have the security of furlough and the prospect of returning to work in the near future – so the pool of potential employees becomes even smaller.
“If the government is serious about consumer spending driving the UK’s economic recovery then it needs to consider a relaxation of visa barriers.”
He added: “Currently chefs qualify for a skilled worker visa but cooks don’t and this complexity is adding to the staff shortages. What is needed is a fast-tracked recovery visa system for hospitality workers who don’t meet the current point-based system but who are crucial to the sector’s recovery.”