One in six hospitality jobs are currently vacant while the government doubles down on not relaxing immigration rules to ease labour shortages.
The Prime Minister said on Sunday that he would not “pull the lever” of more immigration in the short-term to stop lorry driver shortages while ministers have ruled out extra visas for restaurants.
Almost all (96 per cent) business leaders now envisage shortages in either front or back of house roles, according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth.
Just under three quarters said they foresee shortages in both front and back of house roles.
Fewer than one in five (18 per cent) leaders feels confident about their recruitment and retention over the next year, marking a sharp drop from the 67 per cent who felt confident in the last survey three months ago.
Ministers have said hospitality bosses should focus on their own solutions – such as hiking pay – to labour shortages that have been felt across the economy.
Wage bills have been rapidly inflated as restaurant bosses boost pay to attract highly sought after staff.
Three quarters of business leaders said they have offered better pay and the same amount had increased their communication levels with staff in order to retain staff.
‘Government putting dogma over saving the sector’
Operators who have upped pay have done so by an average of 11 per cent for current staff, and 13 per cent for newly hired staff, according to CGA and Fourth’s data.
Some London bars and restaurants have been forced to minimise their opening hours or close altogether while filling vacancies.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon told CityAM the government was “putting dogma over saving the hospitality sector.”
Her comments came after parliamentary under-secretary for the home office, Kevin Foster rejected calls for a ‘Covid recovery visa’ in response to a parliamentary question.
“Most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed, rather than turning to the Home Office for immigration policy changes as an alternative to doing this,” the secretary of state said.
Layla Moran said: “The crisis facing pubs, hotels, restaurants and producers in the sector is of the Government’s own making, and now they’re refusing to clean up the mess.
“Of course we need to encourage more young Brits to enter hospitality and give them the skills to enter the sector in the future, as the Government’s strategy outlines, but Boris Johnson needs to help my constituents and the sector recruit the staff they need right now if they’re going to survive.”