Business leaders call on hospitality sector to set new standards to attract staff

Date published: 20 August 2021


Business leaders are urging hospitality employers to sign up to Greater Manchester’s Good Employment Charter and raise the standards of working conditions in the sector in order to attract and retain staff. 

The industry is recovering after almost 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions, but many bars, restaurants and venues are having difficulty filling open positions.

Thousands of experienced staff have left the industry and many EU nationals previously employed in hospitality are now unable to work in the UK.

The night time economy is the fifth biggest industry in the UK, employing nearly 10% of the nation’s workforce.

However, workers are paid disproportionately less compared to the wider economy.

In Greater Manchester, the sector supported a third of the city-region's workforce pre-pandemic, yet more than half of part-time hospitality workers earn less than the Real Living Wage.

Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Lou Cordwell are encouraging employers in the sector to engage with the Good Employment Charter and demonstrate their commitment to providing fair pay, secure work, and wellbeing support.

By raising pay and conditions across the industry in Greater Manchester, employers could begin to attract more people to unfilled posts and grow their businesses – while helping to make Greater Manchester a beacon of good employment and an exemplar of how the sector recovers in the UK.

Mr Lord said: “It is time to raise standards and ensure fair pay in our hospitality sector.

"As we rebuild from the devastating effects of Covid and Brexit on the sector, we can't expect the youngest and hardest hit by the pandemic to be satisfied with minimum wage roles, when they can earn higher salaries elsewhere in office work or in retail.

“Greater Manchester is already a becoming leader in Good Employment in so many sectors thanks to our Good Employment Charter.

"The Charter supports employers to improve conditions for their employees, like paying the Real Living Wage, providing more flexible work and developing excellent recruitment practices.

"I believe our hospitality businesses now need to get on board and be at the forefront of Good Employment.

"Attracting the right people to our sector is critical to its survival and I believe this is the way to do it.”

Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP), said: “What the hospitality industry is now experiencing is nothing short of a staffing crisis.

"Hospitality is a fantastic sector to work in and Greater Manchester is full of brilliant venues and operators, but after almost 18 months of difficulty and uncertainty, jobseekers are understandably looking elsewhere.

“The best way for businesses to address this crisis is to set a new standard, and this starts with offering fair pay, secure work, better conditions and more opportunities to progress.

"That’s why we’re calling on employers to show they are committed to offering fair and secure work by becoming Supporters of the Good Employment Charter.”

Greater Manchester’s acclaimed Good Employment Charter sets out seven features of good employment that employers must demonstrate they are working towards – providing secure work, providing flexible work, working towards paying a Real Living Wage, improving workplace engagement and voice, developing excellent recruitment practices, improving people management, and fostering employee health and wellbeing.

Engaging with the Charter also offers a range of other long-term benefits.

As part of a network of like-minded employers, Charter Supporters can attend regular events, access exclusive resources, and receive specialised support from Good Employment advisors.

For more information, visit the Good Employment Charter website: gmgoodemploymentcharter.co.uk.

To get involved, contact the Night-Time Economy Office: nteoffice@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk


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