PM serves up good news for hospitality recruitment

The reopening of England’s restaurants and pubs from 4 July has been hailed as “brilliant” by one hospitality recruiter. 

Rory Laffan, managing director of hospitality recruiter Bee Recruitment, told Recruiter that the announcement made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday was “the start the hospitality industry needs to start rebuilding and organising itself”.

However, Laffan said that while it was great news, it didn’t mean hiring would return to normal any time soon. “In terms of vacancies in hospitality this is going to be a slow burner, and unfortunately I can see the next 3-6 months being really hard, with lots of closures and redundancies across the board.

“The positives to this, though, is that I truly believe that the industry will bounce back better; it will force innovation, we will see standards in hospitality rise and I hope will be a better place to work in too.”

John Hunt, director at jdr Hospitality Recruitment, agreed the prime minister’s announcement, which included a halving of the 2m social distancing rule, seen as vital for the financial viability of the sector – as long as measures such as screens to protect customers and staff are in place – as “very good news”.

However, he cautioned, “from a recruitment point of view I think it is early days. Most hotel groups, if they have a full complement of management and teams will be looking very critically at how they are going to manage their new world, so it is a little bit premature to go on a huge recruitment drive”. 

He added: “I don’t think that is going to be the case for a few months.”

However, Hunt said hotels and restaurants are always on the look out to hire the limited number of high quality people in the market for business critical roles.

Caroline Wright, MD of Taste Recruitment, said the announcement was what she and indeed candidates had been expecting. “More and more candidates have contacted us, something that has been happening over the last week,” she said.

Although she said it was too early to see an influx of vacancies, she said that towards the end of the week she would be having conversations with clients “just to let them know I am here when they need staffing”. Wright said that when jobs did begin to return, she expected vacancies to be for floor staff, and roles like commis chef and chef de partie that had been furloughed or made redundant as a result of the pandemic. 

In contrast, she said she didn’t expect many openings for heads of departments or head chefs, who were more likely to have been retained during the lockdown. “It’s been frustrating, but I definitely feel more optimistic, and 100% we are here ready to help,” said Wright.

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