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Hospitality Sector Braced For Change In Post-Brexit Britain

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Restaurant & Bar Design Show

 

– Brexit eroding hospitality leaders’ confidence –

– Talent pipeline seen as key area of concern –

Hospitality leaders are worried about the future supply of their workforce in the UK, according to new research which finds that almost two thirds (63%) think it will be more difficult to recruit the best talent following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

The survey of ‘C-suite’ executives, by leading business law firm DWF, also finds that as the UK begins its Brexit negotiations, hospitality leaders’ confidence in their sector has already started to erode:

  • Almost all (94%) of respondents think it will be more difficult to access capital post-Brexit, regardless of the detail of the outcome
  • Half (50%) are not confident that London’s economic interests will be protected over the next three years
  • Almost a third (31%) say they intend to invest less should the UK lose access to the single market

Fearing a more competitive landscape for hospitality, respondents named Hong Kong as the greatest threat to London in terms of employment, loss of customers or erosion of profit. Singapore and New York were also recognised as posing a significant threat to London.

Melanie Williams, Partner and Head of Hospitality Sector at DWF, said: “These findings show that business confidence within the hospitality industry in the UK is low.  It is therefore vital that the Government helps to address the sector’s concerns and prevents any further uncertainty during Brexit negotiations.”

Fears around further volatility seem to be spurring the sector into action, however, with hospitality businesses already attempting to secure their talent pipeline for a future outside the EU.

According to the study, half of respondents (50%) believe flexibility is a primary driver for attracting talent to the sector and hospitality leaders are therefore embracing the gig economy.  In fact a quarter (25%) plan to transition more than 10% of their workforce to freelancer status and a further 38% plan on blending their workforce with greater levels of freelance support in the future.

These changes have the potential to reshape the sector significantly with hospitality executives suggesting that over half (57%) of their workforce could be working to some degree on an agile basis within the next five years and comes at a time when the ‘gig economy’ is being carefully reviewed by the Government.

Williams added: “Our survey shows that the hospitality sector is gearing up for a major change in the way it operates and we anticipate an increase in the role that the gig economy will play in the future.  It is important that the recently announced review into self-employed worker status provides clear guidance for everyone in the sector.”

Accountability was another key theme with all of those surveyed planning to change their approach to recruiting and retaining senior management in order to improve ‘Customer outcomes and experiences’ and ‘Decision-making’ (management information and board delegation).

Technology is also seen as integral to the future of hospitality in post-Brexit Britain, with Big Data (94%) and the Internet of Things (63%) predicted as being the most important technological advances to the sector in the next three years. Surprisingly, Blockchain (19%) and Artificial Intelligence (13%) were both seen as the least important technical trends to the retail sector.

Williams concluded: “Our survey shows that the hospitality sector is gearing up for a major change in the way it operates.  As the UK Government enters its talks with Brussels, it must do all it can to boost the sector’s confidence, by ensuring a favourable environment for integrating these new modes of employment and technology.”

 

 

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