In Focus
RESEARCH | Staff Reporter, UK

500,000 hospo jobs lost since January, study reveals

There has also been a 21% drop in overall staff headcount compared to October 2019.

Half a million people in the hospitality sector have lost their jobs since January as England goes into a second lockdown, latest figures from Fourth have revealed.

The number of job leavers continues to outweigh the number of new starters, a trend seen throughout August and September, since the industry began re-opening following the first lockdown.

Other key data points include a 21% drop in overall staff headcount compared to October 2019, approximately three leavers for every one starter throughout October, and 23.3% decline in total staff headcount across SMEs versus October 2019 (16/8%).

Fourth’s data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, also reveals that a further 21,337 hospitality workers lost their job in October, representing 7.5% of the total workforce.

The pub sector experienced the least impact, with a 5% reduction in workforce, followed by QSRs with a drop of 6%, and restaurants with an 8% drop. The hotel sector was most impacted, with a 10% drop in workforce.

Overall, the workforce shrunk by 21% in October 2020, versus the same month in 2019. The pub sector also experienced the least negative impact, with a drop in labour of 18% over the course of the month. This was followed by QSRs, with a drop of 20%, and the restaurant sector with a 22% drop. The most impacted sector, again, was hotels, where there was a 24% reduction of labour when compared to last year.

“October was another incredibly challenging month for the hospitality sector, with further Government-imposed restrictions impacting trading and consumer confidence. Whilst entering a second lockdown is incredibly difficult for the sector, we hope that the extension of the furlough scheme will provide essential support to businesses to enable them to get through the coming weeks and months,” Fourth EMEA managing director Sebastien Sepierre said.

Mounting anxiety on job security
A separate survey from CGA and CPL Learning’s Hospitality Professionals panel revealed job concerns amongst hospitality's frontline workers, with 72% of them now feeling either very concerned (39%) or slightly concerned (33%) about their short-term job security in light of the second lockdown.

Less than a fifth (18%) of the respondents are optimistic about the prospects of the sector over the next six months—down 25 percentage points from June. Only half (49%) say they are confident that their employer will survive the COVID-19 pandemic—substantially down from June’s figure (71%).

“This survey illustrates how lockdowns and a steady stream of new trading restrictions have created widespread anxiety for hospitality professionals,” said Chloe Sheerin, Consumer Research Executive at CGA. “Frontline teams have worked very hard to bolster consumers’ confidence and support the sector’s recovery over the last few months, but November will now be a stressful month for many of them.”

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