Over to You, Boris tells Business

October 2021

Bizimply report highlights investment shortfall as PM tells Hospitality to fund its skills and pay gap

The hospitality sector is expected to invest in funding the sector’s skills and pay gap itself,  Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled.

The stark message from Government comes in the week of the Conservative Party conference, with Mr Johnson and other ministers making it clear that industry is expected to compensate for the post-Brexit loss of its EU workforce with higher investment in skills, wages and working conditions.

The uphill struggle facing the sector is spotlighted in a new report, From Agile to Fragile: How to Navigate the New Era of Hospitality, published by workforce specialists Bizimply and hospitality consultancy Hospitality Mavericks. The report found that:

  • 21% of respondents are taking no additional steps to recruit new employees or retain existing team members
  • Only a third (32%) are increasing their training and development
  • Just 21% are increasing pay and 10% improving staff benefits.

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday (5 October) Mr Johnson said the recruitment problems the UK economy is experiencing are simply “the stresses and strains from a giant waking up,” post-pandemic.

He added that the past 25 years had seen sectors including hospitality “mainline low wage, low-cost immigration”, which has “resulted in the suppression not just of pay, but of conditions,” for UK workers.  He said the UK had an approach, “where business does not invest in skills, and does not invest in capital or facilities,” but that the balance sheets of businesses show “they can do this.”

Conor Shaw, CEO of Bizimply said: “Hospitality operators will perhaps be surprised to learn that after 18 months in which the pandemic saw them shut down for long periods, the government believes they have sufficient funds to invest in improved pay, conditions and systems.

“However, even if the message is unwelcome, it’s clear. Politicians expect hospitality and other industry sectors to ramp up investment in people and systems. Our report surveyed hospitality companies not just in the UK, but also in Europe and the US, and it’s clear that the problems they all face are similar.

“Investment in the right technology empowers hospitality staff at the front line, freeing up staff to focus on customer service, which in turn improves job satisfaction as well as boosting the bottom line. The good news for businesses facing immediate staff challenges is that investment in systems doesn’t have to be hugely expensive. There are plug-and-play options that can be implemented quickly and deliver immediate benefits.”

From Agile to Fragile: How to Navigate the New Era of Hospitality, is based on a survey of senior operators representing hundreds of outlets, employing thousands of staff, in the UK, Europe and the USA. Respondents came from across the hospitality sector, from fine dining and hotels to pubs and bars, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. The report is available from the Bizimply website, click here to download.