Hospitality businesses have been forced to increase wages by up to 14% to attract temporary workers amid staff shortages, according to data from an online marketplace for flexible workers.
The average hourly pay at pubs and restaurants was up 9% for a weekend shift and 5% for a weekday shift in May 2021, compared with the same month in 2019, Indeed Flex found.
Employers in the sector have struggled to meet demand because of a shortage of workers; many have found new jobs while businesses were closed during lockdowns, while workers from EU nations may have returned to their home countries because of the pandemic and Brexit.
In April it was reported that one in 10 UK hospitality workers left the sector last year.
According to ONS employment data, the food services and accommodation sector recorded a 265.5% uplift in vacancies in March as lockdown restrictions first began to ease. This has led many businesses to turn to temporary workers to fill staffing gaps.
“The combination of booming demand from customers and the table service-only rule means thousands of pubs and restaurants need more staff – and fast,” said Jack Beaman, CEO of Indeed Flex.
“But with bottlenecks holding up the supply of workers, forward-thinking businesses are increasingly turning to temporary staff to fill shifts, and raising wages to woo the best people.
“We’ve also seen an influx of people opting for temporary work as a post-lockdown lifestyle choice – as it gives them a variety and a work-life balance that a permanent job cannot.”
The steepest increases in hourly pay were recorded in Greater Manchester and Cheshire, where average hourly pay rose 12.5% compared with two years ago, Indeed Flex found. In this area, average hourly pay for a weekend shift has increased by almost 14%.
Pay growth was weakest in Merseyside, where hourly rates increased by just 0.84% on average, and in London, where they rose by 3.73%.