According to a recent article from the BBC, the hospitality sector has never seen so few new jobs in the UK hospitality sector across restaurants, bars and hotels. The latest official figures show that the UK unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in a three month period to September. Government is also expecting 2.6million people to be unemployed by mid-2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the hospitality industry and presented it with an unprecedented challenge. Boris Johnson has said the hospitality sector can re-open from the 2 November 2020. However after reviewing the new tier system, it is safe to say that without additional support, these tier’s may decimate the hospitality sector. The new rules for the hospitality sector state:
- Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
- Pubs and restaurants can shut at 23:00 GMT, with last orders at 22:00 GMT
- Hospitality venues – such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close, except for delivery and takeaway services
Many businesses will find it unfeasible to operate under these tiers and without additional financial support we will see thousands of businesses closing and millions of people being made redundant.
Following travel bans, border closures and quarantine measures, many workers cannot move to their places of work or carry out their jobs which has effects on incomes, particularly for informal and casually employed workers. Given the current environment of uncertainty and fear, businesses are likely to delay investments, purchases of goods and the hiring of workers.
As the new tier system comes into place, we are seeing more pub groups being forced to make additional job cuts. Mitchells & Butlers, owner of the All Bar One and Harvester chains, revealed it had cut 1,300 jobs while Fuller Smith & Turner made 350 redundancies.
The landscape of the hospitality sector may change forever. It’s the decisions we as business owners make today, that will make an impact and force us to adopt new ideas and find that light at the end of the tunnel.
So what does this mean for the future of those working within the hospitality industry?
We are already seeing consumer behaviour change as an immediate effect of the pandemic. Hospitality businesses will need to understand and respond to consumers’ changing behaviours in order to help with the recovery of the hospitality sector. We will see businesses reimagining the customer experience and re-engaging with customers to build and maintain their trust.
The world of social distancing and fewer customers, will require businesses to rethink their staffing needs. The new normal will no longer support pre-pandemic staffing levels, and companies may need to look at reducing staff or reassigning employees to other roles.
And for businesses to deal with another outbreak, which essentially will lead to further restrictions, they may want to consider making their workforce more flexible and hiring contract staff or using third-party service providers, so they can quickly respond to the changing business conditions and staff as and when required.
With challenges come opportunities and those in the hospitality sector have a chance to develop new skills and improve future career prospects through additional learning, whilst we ride out this pandemic and look to the future of the industry.
Do you work within the hospitality sector? How has the pandemic impacted you? And where do you see yourself in the future of the hospitality industry?
*Tiers are constantly changing. These tiers were correct at time of writing.