The hospitality sector in the UK could be perfectly placed to provide fulfilling careers and increased employment post-Brexit with the right support from Government on recruitment and skills development, and a reduction in employment costs.
The Hospitality Workforce Commission 2030, a report by a group of All Party Parliamentary Group chairs, makes a number of recommendations aimed to boost employment and retention in the sector. The inquiry was commissioned by UKHospitality, the trade body for hospitality operators.
The sector already employs 3.2 million people, right across the UK and is a major driver of social mobility. It offers many people their first job, skills development and a meritocratic career pathway. But it is a sector that faces labour and skills shortages and is keen to grow further with a need for talent.
The report follows a Select Committee-style series of Parliamentary evidence sessions scrutinising the challenges and opportunities being faced by employers, which heard from industry leaders, employees and MPs. A call for evidence resulted in 50 organisations and individuals contributing to the final report.
The Commission report calls on the Government to act decisively to help secure the future of the sector and boost the UK’s economy by: supporting a cross-industry campaign to tackle negative perceptions of a career in the sector;
helping provide better quality information about opportunities in hospitality;
collaborating with businesses to improve engagement between businesses and students.
In addition, UKHospitality is urging the Chancellor to increase the threshold for employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) from £6,000 to £12,000 to stimulate greater recruitment and cut business costs. It is also critical the setting of the National Living Wage rate remains independent and non-politicised.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said, “The UK’s hospitality sector is a resilient and inventive one. It has helped provide growth, jobs and investment in every region and has been vital for the regeneration of UK high streets following turbulent economic periods. However, without Government support and immediate action on escalating employment costs, hospitality businesses will struggle to continue to provide these opportunities for people throughout the economic cycle.
“The recommendations in this report map a path to a post-Brexit hospitality workforce. It is recognised that free movement in its current form will end, and it is critical that Government supports the sector in promoting itself to young people and providing the framework for improved career development. The full potential of the sector will only be realised with positive action from the Government to ensure this is achievable.
“The Hospitality Workforce Commission 2030 exhaustively examined the opportunities and challenges that our sector faces and actions to be taken. If acted upon these will enable us to provide even greater investment, and provide more jobs, in communities across the UK. Implementing the recommendations will allow us to more effectively provide careers and opportunities, particularly for harder-to-place workers, and help the Government hit its apprenticeship target. With political and economic instability in the aftermath of Brexit, this is too good an opportunity for the Government to miss.
“I thank everyone who gave their time to contribute to this comprehensive investigation and I sincerely hope the Government acts upon our recommendations.”