Belfast Telegraph

Hospitality industry to be hit with shortage of staff in wake of Brexit

The hospitality industry is facing a shortage of staff due to factors including Brexit - with one restaurant claiming it's cutting its hours in order to retain workers. (Stock picture)
The hospitality industry is facing a shortage of staff due to factors including Brexit - with one restaurant claiming it's cutting its hours in order to retain workers. (Stock picture)
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

The hospitality industry is facing a shortage of staff due to factors including Brexit - with one restaurant claiming it's cutting its hours in order to retain workers.

According to Hospitality Ulster, the sector's trade body, by 2024 there will be 30,000 vacancies in the industry, while there's likely to be a shortage of 2,000 chefs.

It said hospitality here sustains 60,000 jobs with migrant workers making up 20% of that workforce. "There has always been a shortage in staff but over the last number of years even more so," Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said.

"Brexit is driving the labour shortage across the industry and we are seeing migrant labour reduce with less people coming in and more moving to the Republic because it's in the eurozone."

He said the growth in the number of bars and restaurants here as well as student staff moving into sectors other than hospitality was also having an impact on staff availability.

But he added: "There has become a trend now in the marketplace to offer better conditions to keep staff and that comes from an old adage 'train people to leave and treat them to stay' because staff turnover is a costly business."

Belfast city centre venue Edo said it's changing its operation to keep its team in place. The Spanish tapas-style venue run by chef Johnny Elliot opened in 2017 in Upper Queen Street. It has said that from October it will move from a five-day operation to four.

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Edo said it's staff wellbeing which is driving the move, rather than declining demand. Manager Matthew McIlwaine said the move would help retain the "excellent team" of 20 and said staff wages will remain the same.

He added that while profits might be a concern due to a reduction in hours, the change would produce a "sustainable business".

"We are looking to improve across all areas of the business and when you have a core team that works consistently and provides a great service then you want to look after that.

"With industry growth creating a huge demand for trained staff and staff turnover high in restaurants we want to prevent that being an issue for us. If we are to continue to grow as a business we have to put things in place to make recruitment less of an issue.

"We are looking at growing and this would make it less of a scarier risk if we are a company that people want to work for."

Belfast Telegraph

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