In June 2016 citizens of the UK voted in the EU Referendum to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU. The results were that 51.9% of people voted to leave the EU, and 48.1% voted to remain in the EU.
But what will the consequences be for the Hospitality Industry now that the UK will be leaving the EU?
European workers currently make up a quarter of the Hospitality Industry’s workforce, so the UK could inevitably face an even bigger shortage of Chefs and kitchen workers if EU Nationals aren’t allowed to work in the UK, adding to the already struggling shortage of Chefs, and many smaller businesses could be forced to close.
One option that has been discussed could be for the Government to introduce a points-based system, such as the system used in Australia- where migrants are only allowed into the country if they have skills which can contribute to society.
“EU Nationals are a huge help in recruiting good staff to the UK hospitality sector, which already suffers a huge shortage of skills. The problem of finding talented Chefs could become even more difficult as we will have a smaller amount of candidates to select from if restrictions are placed on EU nationals working in the UK. Here at Back-2-Front around 35% of our Chefs are not from Britain.
A large amount of migrants work in eatery establishments in Britain. Many of these people may have to be replaced by British people if those people are forced to go home by the Government.
I imagine this would mean an increase in wages and labour costs, which would directly affect the customer.”
Orla Murphy, Chef Consultant, Back-2-Front Recruitment Agency
Work permits may also need to be acquired by EU Nationals to give them the right to work in the UK. Currently, EU citizens are free to live and work in the UK and are protected under EU law.
“Brexit won’t affect me, because I have a bachelor degree in event & management and am a permanent resident in the UK, so I would be classed as skilled. So whatever points based system they will implement will not apply to me. The shortage of Chefs is already here and it has been here before the Brexit talks. So the problem lays in the system.”
Micael Sena, EU National, Chef
Brexit will have a positive and negative effect on different people in the industry. If EU Nationals are not able to work in the UK then this would mean more work will become available for British Chefs, who would have to replace the EU National workers. British Chefs could also see an increase in pay, due to the demand of Chefs. Giving priority to British people- which was the hope of many ‘Leave’ voters.
“Some people are saying there will be Chef shortages, I should imagine that it could be of benefit to the Chef’s trade, and it could well increase wages and attract overseas Chefs from Commonwealth countries, that speak English more proficiently.”
Alex Buchanan , Chef
So what will the implications be for restaurants and other eateries in the UK? Brexit is already having an effect on restaurants, for example, the cost of raw products has tripled on some products, with some ingredients increasing by up to 20%. The establishments who can’t increase their prices or can’t absorb the increases are in serious trouble. Trading restrictions could also affect establishments when ordering produce from Europe- which are used all year round. Recruitment in the Hospitality Industry has already started to be affected- with many European Nationals not applying for jobs in the country.
“We have seen a change in applications for staff the past few months. We recently advertised for Chefs and barely had any response whereas before we would have been overwhelmed with the response. It was the same with waitressing applications, not as many European staff applied mainly British
which we barely get. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy with anyone applying but the amount of quality CVs we had has definitely dropped. I do feel that Brexit will impact recruitment in hospitality.”
Georgia Clode-Rixon, Manager at Aqua Restaurant
However, even before Brexit came along the Hospitality Industry has been experiencing a shortage of Chefs for a long time now, due to many people deciding to go to University rather than doing Chef apprenticeships, the long hours, low pay and the glamorization of the industry on television- making it seem a lot less hard work than it actually is.
Brexit will approximately take place in Spring 2019. However, it won’t just happen overnight and could take many years for any changes in the law to take effect.
Do you work in the Hospitality Industry? Comment below or send us an email with your thoughts on the issue.