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Hospitality struggling to keep workers

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The hospitality sector is facing high turnover rates that could worsen after Brexit, according to research

Unsociable working hours (69%), low pay and benefits (63%), and lack of career prospects (35%) were the top three reasons people cited for leaving the sector in YouGov and software company Deputy's Retaining Britain’s Hospitality Workers report. As a result the sector has a retention rate of just 70%, it stated.

For this research, Deputy calculated that hospitality in the UK has an employee turnover rate of 30% (meaning three out of 10 workers leave their role within a year). This is double that of the UK average, and forecast to get worse after Brexit.

However, close to half (42%) of UK employees are either employed in the industry or have worked in it at some point, the report highlighted.

Just 40% of respondents said they believe it is viable to have a long-term career in the sector, however, rising to 62% for those currently working in hospitality.

Respondents were asked what would make employees in the sector less likely to leave. Factors cited were: better pay and benefits (cited by 63%), more control over shift patterns (55%), a more stable income and guaranteed work (52%), better career prospects (42%), and more transparency regarding shifts and scheduling (32%).

When asked why they took their most recent role, 40% of respondents who have worked or currently work in hospitality said it was the only job available at the time.

The report found that few hospitality workers see this as their primary role. It was the main occupation for just 44% of respondents, while 38% were also in education, and 15% did this as a second or third job. Only 3% said they chose to work in the sector because of the career prospects it offers.

David Kelly, EMEA general manager at Deputy, warned that Brexit could create further challenges for the sector.

“The UK hospitality sector is the third largest private employer in the UK, but it looks set to face an even greater shortfall of skilled workers," he said. "Everyone in the hospitality sector is worried about what Brexit will mean for the workforce. As the willing talent pool dries up, increasing retention in the hospitality sector over the next few years is vital."

As many hospitality workers struggle with work/life balance, employers should focus on providing regular hours to improve retention rates, Kelly added.

“Beyond more pay, what we found is that workers want more control over their working lives and more stability," he said. "Anyone who has worked in the hospitality sector knows what it feels like not to know when you’ll be working week to week. It’s stressful and limits your ability to plan and enjoy your life. We believe that changes can be made in easy areas that will help improve retention rates.”

YouGov and Deputy surveyed 1,006 adults working in hospitality.