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Brexit impact on industry recruitment increasing, finds venue booking association

Impact on recruitment increasing but influence on business is down year on year, association of hotel bookers finds

Pictured: HBAA chair Louise Goalen

The impact of Brexit on recruitment in the UK hospitality and events industry is increasing - but its influence on business in the sector generally has reduced in the last 12 months.


These are the key findings of the second annual Brexit survey carried out by the HBAA, the leading association for the events and hospitality industry among its members.


Louise Goalen, HBAA chair, said: “The consensus among members is that the immediate impact two years ago was a rise in costs due to the significant drop in sterling, and a more cautious attitude among clients towards booking events. Over the last 12 months these challenges seem to have settled down slightly and businesses have adjusted. Now everyone is warily waiting to see what happens next. It will be fascinating to see what everyone thinks 12 months from now when we will have been out for three months.”


A year ago, on the first anniversary of the referendum, only 2 per cent of respondents said that Brexit had had a major impact on recruitment. Twelve months later that figure has risen to 10 per cent. Those saying that it has had little effect have increased from 17 per cent to 23 per cent while the proportion of members seeing no impact on recruitment has correspondingly gone down from 80 per cent to 67 per cent.


When asked which positions are proving challenging to fill, 91 per cent say entry level posts, 63 per cent are having difficulty with middle level roles and 56 per cent report problems filling senior positions. However, as yet 86 per cent of organisations have not changed their recruitment policy since the referendum vote.


Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the HBAA and a member of the Event Industry Board’s Talent Taskforce, said: “These results give a clear picture of the growing issue that the industry is facing and why the Talent Taskforce initiative to provide evidence to government and secure support in addressing the potential consequences is vital and urgent.”


Considering whether Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, 58 per cent now say it has had no impact, up from 48 per cent a year ago. The number saying that it has had a significant impact has gone down from 7 per cent to 6 per cent while those saying it has had a slight effect have declined from 45 per cent to 37 per cent. One in five say that the Brexit impact has increased in the last year, 64 per cent report that it has been the same and 15 per cent have noticed less effect.

  • Martin Ellis of Team Umbrella 26/06/2018

    The biggest surprise of all is that presumably time and money was spent on "producing" these results. Or perhaps "results" is too strong a word.

    Reading the detail, two thirds of those asked say there is no impact. That's a vast majority even for those who are anti-Brexit. As for blaming something that hasn't happened, for problems with recruitment, that's poor by any standards. Surely the underlying message is that the home-grown talent just isn't good enough? In a country where we still have unemployment, the fact that businesses struggle to fill entry level vacancies may just be pointing to other factors: poor education standards? Poor work ethic? Poor marketing of job opportunities? Or maybe business is booming at such a level that there just aren't enough people to fill the roles... which is obviously because of Brexit?

    Rather noticeably, the headline omits to mention that 58 percent of respondents say that Brexit has had no impact on their business, a number which has increased. Why is this angle being ignored until the very last paragraph?

    I get that Brexit is something that people love to demonise, but surely balanced reporting is better than playing to the crowds. M&IT seem to lead the way in fair opinion pieces, so please avoid extrapolating to pander to a section of your readers - otherwise you risk alienating those with differing opinions.

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