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Strategy needed 'now' to soften recruitment crisis

Prof Peter Jones warns that investment in promoting industry perception and jobs is essential

Pictured: eHotelier Academy dean Professor Peter Jones

A hospitality academic has said a campaign must begin now to save the hospitality industry from a recruitment crisis post Brexit.

Professor Peter Jones, dean of the eHotelier Academy, says that the government must invest in training and education to change public perception of the hospitality industry and raise the profile of job opportunities.

Jones warns in an eHotelier blog that the industry should be "very concerned" about staffing issues, saying free movement of labour is an essential to the UK hospitality industry, and that even with low levels of migration there will still not be enough of a working age population to fill all the jobs that will be available.

"The hospitality industry will be competing for even scarcer resources. Investment in training and education, raising the profile and career opportunities the industry offers and changing the public perception of the industry needs to happen now. The lead time for this strategy will be a minimum of five years. On current projections we have not got that long, unless we have some fairly dramatic shifts in perception and reality, the only segment of the population that will be able to satisfy the industry's future employment needs will be the over 65s!" Jones said.

"The hospitality industry should be getting very concerned as to how, and from where, they are going to be recruiting professional staff post-Brexit. This is not a political argument of the merits or otherwise of Brexit, but a basic economic equation of supply and demand.

"The government's stated ambition to reduce net annual migration to tens of thousands may resonate politically, but makes no sense economically. As a target, it is based not on population projections, labour market forecasts nor industry views, but on a response to popular sentiment. In simple terms, if UK plc is to remain economically sound with a viable hospitality industry post-Brexit: the sums do not add up!"

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