How will Brexit affect hospitality?
With Article 50 due to be triggered at the end of March, inploi’s co-founder and CEO, Matthew de la Hey, offers his thoughts on the future of recruitment in the post-Brexit UK hospitality industry
The UK’s hospitality industry is facing uncertain times. With the fast-approaching implementation of Article 50, it is difficult to fully comprehend the potential impact of Brexit upon the sector within which our product functions. With approximately 15% of the UK’s hospitality workforce made up of migrants from the EU, according to a recent talk by Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, the current rhetoric strongly suggests that recruitment is going to be increasingly difficult and costly for hospitality employers.
Although the government seems to be pledging support of the industry in light of its economic contributions to the UK economy, we have yet to see decisive action. The suggestion of a ‘Brexit levy’ (whereby employers would have to pay a fee of £1000 per EU employee) coming into place would not only further inhibit recruitment in the sector, but also most likely result in internal HR difficulties for employers - particularly those in urban areas where migrant populations tend make up a greater percentage the workforce.
At inploi HQ based in London, we have continued to see strong growth over the past few months since the referendum, with over 5,000 jobseekers and 300 employers now signed onto the platform, composed of a wide variety of nationalities, showing a good reflection of the UK hospitality jobs market and a sign of the increasingly digital approach employers are taking to hire new staff. However, we would not be surprised to see the demographic of our user-base change post-Brexit, in reflection of government policy implementation (including proposed quotas for net migration and industry sectors).
In spite of the threats implied by Brexit, perhaps we should see this time of change as one of opportunity. London’s hospitality sector is thriving, with an ever-rising number of venue openings providing opportunities for jobseekers across the city, and those from further afield. Here at inploi, we are working hard to promote partnerships with industry leaders, training providers and employers, in order to highlight the benefits of working in this challenging, diverse and fast-paced industry. One thing we have learned is that the world of hospitality is a lot smaller than one might think, but equally, it is a highly mobile industry and there are plenty of opportunities to be explored, both within and beyond the boundaries of the European Union.