'I was worked like a Blackpool donkey': Why is the hospitality industry struggling to recruit staff?

Many workers are leaving the hospitality industry because the sector is now too unpredictable, new research suggests.

A survey by jobs website CV-Library of almost 1,000 workers found that one in three said Covid-19 had made them re-think their career, while one in four blamed poor pay for wanting to find another job.

Adam Hewison left his job as a sous chef in Manchester and retrained as an electrician. He said he feels like he has got his life back.

  • Adam Hewison says chefs need "better incentives".

Now that the hospitality sector is reopening - employers are struggling to recruit staff.

Lystra Adams opened Boujee bar and restaurant in Liverpool in December. Across the Liverpool One based site and the one in Manchester, there are 150 vacancies.

Boujee bar and restaurant in Liverpool

Lystra says she has four members of staff working solely on recruitment, and many potential employees simply do not turn up for interviews.

  • Lystra Adams says hiring staff is a challenge.

In Windermere, business is booming for the Langdale Chase Hotel – but because there are not enough staff, they’ve been forced to cut back on opening hours.

Manager of the hotel Jess Vincent said: "From next week we're only going to be serving lunches until 4 o'clock, not the traditional 5 or 6 that we've always done. It's just been a struggle to find those people that want to do those hands-on roles."

Jess Vincent, manager of Langdale Chase Hotel in Windermere.

As businesses struggle to keep up with demand, there are calls for a new visa system to allow European nationals to help fill the staffing gaps.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is urging the government to introduce a new visa system to help fix staff shortages in the Lake District's hospitality sector. 

He says the pandemic and changes in immigration rules have made it impossible for some businesses to continue without help from overseas.

  • Tim Farron is calling on the government to change visa rules.

So what does the future of the hospitality industry look like?

Adam Hewison says it’s at risk of collapse and workers need better incentives.

As the repercussions of events from the past year look set to stay for some time, this sector faces a challenging summer.

It’s hoped customer demand and a UK-based holiday season will translate into a brighter future.