Hospitality sector working to lessen staffing impact of Brexit on industry

By Adrian Ellis, Chair Manchester Hoteliers Association, Lowry Hotel General Manager

Adrian Ellis

On the back of a very challenging two years of COVID-19 restrictions and testing measures, the hospitality industry has been faced with yet another obstacle in the form of recruitment.

With the COVID-19 knock on implications and the effect of Brexit, UK hospitality businesses are experiencing challenges in filling vacancies just as international travel begins to open back up and we, as a city, start to welcome international visitors for the first time.

Following on from Brexit many people from across the region moved back to their home countries due to changes in visas and the closure of hotels due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With over 3,000 vacancies currently open across the hospitality industry in Manchester a main factor being considered by many is the lack of EU applicants.

According to a research piece done by The Caterer, 82% of hospitality employers said it was the hardest time they can remember to recruit staff which highlights the scale of the issue we are currently facing.

As Chair of The Manchester Hoteliers Association our members have discussed in length the impact this is having on current operating levels and standards and we, as a group, are working together to tackle this problem after in-depth conversations with current employees on how best to attract talent to the industry.

We are looking at more flexible working hours for staff with many getting used to extended periods of time off during COVID-19 pandemic, working with colleges and schools across Greater Manchester to educate young people on the number of opportunities available within the hospitality industry.

The scheme sees 17 hotels and schools paired together with the aim to provide further knowledge and experience into the current career pathways the hospitality industry has to offer.

The Lowry Hotel

With such a large talent pool of young people across Manchester it is absolutely vital we are showing them the benefits of working in hospitality and the plethora of roles we have on offer in the city currently.

The Manchester Hoteliers Association also has a partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University for the fifth year in a row where Final year BA (Hons) Hospitality Business Management students are paired with leaders of some of the city’s biggest hotels, enrolling them on mentorship programmes.

The scheme allows students to learn a range of direct general manager skills including forecasting, payroll, overview costs, RevPAR and online digital marketing – all whilst working on the job.

The scheme was designed to attract students to careers in the hotel hospitality industry and something that has driven many young professionals into working for some of the city’s leading hotels.

As we move towards a much fuller recovery and see levels across hotels returning to pre-pandemic levels we now must look towards driving people towards Manchester’s booming hospitality sector and highlighting why this is such a great and important industry to be a part of.