Industry in focus: Hospitality in the UK & Europe


Our ‘Industry in Focus’ series reviews the current and future people-related challenges facing key industries and uncovers the role that technology will play in resolving those challenges. In this edition, we look at hospitality – a sector that has repeatedly shown its resilience to handle Brexit, rising costs, wavering consumer confidence, and acute labour shortages.

Attraction and retention challenges

A positive customer experience in hotels, resorts, clubs, restaurants, pubs and cafes is largely dependent on the people working out front in customer-facing roles and those working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. However, creating that experience is challenging in an environment marked by ongoing, acute labour shortages.

In addition, the hospitality industry has always suffered from high employee turnover, partly due to the transient, causal workers who make up the bulk of the workforce. With Brexit hitting the UK hotel industry hardest, employers have been forced to take steps to stand out from the crowd.

That means re-imagining and strengthening the employee experience.

Meeting the challenges

While governments scramble to ease migration regulations to facilitate easier movement of talent across borders, what can employers do themselves? Given the rising cost of living, granting pay rises may be expected but is often unsustainable in the long-run. While many employers have been forced to increase wages out of desperation, others have gotten creative in other ways. Staff attraction and retention is about more than pay.

Looking beyond the hospitality sector for workers, broadening the talent pool to include more workers from diverse backgrounds, and investing in upskilling and the creation of career pathways for employees are just a few solutions being utilised to turn around the ‘perception problem’ the industry has amongst many workers, who often only perceive it as ‘stop-gap’ employment between roles in other industries.

Other employers are investigating how to offer greater flexibility for employees who need to be customer facing. This might include implementing shift bidding options and more autonomy and choice around hours worked.

The role of technology

There are no quick fixes for many of the challenges facing hospitality organisations. However, employers are successfully utilising HR and workforce management technology to improve communication, to benchmark wages, hours and benefits, offer learning and other benefits, and provide support for those who need to work irregular hours. All of this leads to a more appealing employee experience and a stronger employee value proposition.

For further insights and tips on how to navigate through this challenging time, complete the form to download our fact sheet.


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