Brexit fear for U.K. hospitality industry: No staff, hotels forced to close


Three percent of hospitality managers in the United Kingdom predicts they will be forced to close their businesses as a result of Brexit, which nationally could equate to around a £1.1 billion loss for the economy. Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of hospitality managers find recruitment harder now than in April 2017. 16% of hospitality managers do not think they will be able to fulfill staffing requirements over the next 5 years with domestic workers.

The UK hospitality industry could face significant staff shortages if results from a new survey launched by a workforce collaboration software company. The survey, conducted by YouGov, reveals that just over one in ten workers (11%, which is equivalent to around 330,000* staff nationally) working in UK restaurants, catering, bars, and hotels are thinking about leaving the UK as a result of Brexit. This is in stark contrast to hospitality managers’ expectations that only around 4% of their workers are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit.

Industry stagnation

John Coldicutt, Chief Commercial Officer for the survey company commented: “These findings show to us the depth of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy, with the hospitality industry being hit especially hard. There’s clearly false confidence within the hospitality sector with almost three times as many workers considering leaving as managers expect. Now more than ever it’s crucial managers make sure they have the right infrastructure in place to engage their employees and build genuine loyalty.”

Specific job concerns for hospitality workers

30% of workers expressed some form of concern about their job as a result of Brexit. Topping the list were immigration worries, with 23% (equivalent to around 86,500* people nationally) of staff polled who are born outside the UK concerned that they would be forced to leave. Other key staff worries amongst all staff focus on expectations of pay decrease (11%) or being made to work longer hours (6%). About a third of managers (32%) who haven’t done so already think they will have to pay higher salaries and will experience labour (21%) and skills shortages (15%) as a result of Brexit.

The sector calls on the government to do more

Hospitality managers want more support from the government, calling for the following:

  • Almost half (45%) of hospitality managers want the government to offer some form of assistance to the sector due to Brexit
  • 30% want specific work permits or visas for hospitality workers post Brexit.

Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality commented: “Brexit will present some fundamental challenges to our sector if the changes proposed around immigration are approved, given the sheer number of staff and businesses that would be affected. These results clearly show the need across the sector for forward-planning and we are encouraged to see evidence of the industry stepping up to the challenges ahead through increased training and upskilling as well as the many innovative recruitment strategies we know our members are starting to put in place.”

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.