Staff Heroes News

Hospitality Wages are Booming

15th June 2018

It’s a great time to be looking for temporary work in hospitality. But what happens next?

Working in the hospitality industry may be many things: hectic, varied and demanding to name just three. But when it comes to the rewards, traditionally they’ve been more about job satisfaction, loving what you do and getting a real buzz from delivering great service rather than financial.  Working in hospitality has never been a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.

If you love working in hospitality but wish the job paid a little better, there’s been lots to encourage you recently. In January we heard that hospitality wages were up more than 10{c2ee3d7c651143451105162be4a124d03590fc3b28b5e52c309a79c440755638} at the end of 2017, streets ahead of workers in every other sector (the average rise was 2.8{c2ee3d7c651143451105162be4a124d03590fc3b28b5e52c309a79c440755638}).

This March, the £ signs were flashing again. Year on year data showed wages in hospitality up 6.5{c2ee3d7c651143451105162be4a124d03590fc3b28b5e52c309a79c440755638}. And whilst that’s a national trend, it’s specifically good news for London which is seeing advertised vacancies increasing after a bit of a slump.

Put simply, now’s a great time to be looking for temporary hospitality work in London.


Explaining the Rise


It seems every story has a Brexit angle and this is no exception, although for a change it’s good news (at least for temporary workers).

Employers are already seeing the effects of Brexit on recruitment, despite the fact it hasn’t happened yet. It’s making EU nationals less likely to choose London and the wider UK as a destination, and it’s making employers take steps now to lock in the staff they need – because if they lose them to a higher paying competitor, there’s a danger they’ll struggle to fill the vacancies.

It’s a simple case of supply and demand. When the market’s flooded with temp workers eagerly looking for new opportunities, employers don’t have to work too hard to attract them. When the tap is turned off, all of a sudden, it’s advantage temp worker. Anyone with experience and a good reputation should see their wages rising.

It may be that the only way for businesses to keep costs down is to be increasingly intelligent with their staffing strategies. As a response, platforms such as Staff Heroes have made it increasingly easy to book on-demand staff, giving their clients the opportunity to utilize a more elastic staffing system in a bid to reduce costs.


What Happens Next


But hang on a second. There may be some wiggle room for employers to up the wages now, but that’s not sustainable. There’s a ceiling beyond which pay rises just won’t make financial sense, so if employers want to attract or retain the best workers they’ll need to find ways other than financial to do it.

So how about promotion? Discounts? Greater schedule flexibility or, erm, gin tasting sessions?

The US also has a hospitality staff shortage. It’s not driven by Brexit (obviously) or a growing scarcity of workers; it’s driven by low profits. But what’s happening there to retain staff when wage rises aren’t an option could happen here to retain staff once wage rises have hit their peak.

America’s eat out culture has led to an explosion of eateries and tough competition. That competition keeps prices low – you can’t charge more when everyone else on your patch charges less. Lower prices squeeze profits and lower profits mean no wiggle room to up wages. And yet business is booming so businesses have to retain their staff.

An article in the Independent recently told the story of one Mexican restaurant in Virginia with a line round the block and literally no one to serve them. The chef, sous chef and waiting staff had all walked out because of the stress.


Creative Perks


Rather than upping wages, because they can’t, the US hospitality sector is upping the perks. Businesses are being forced to get creative, offering to cover the cost of training courses or increasing opportunities for promotion in an effort to retain staff. And if these sound like the sort of benefits only permanent workers might get, they’re also improving work/life balance through more flexible working, and introducing discount schemes, staff nights out and gin and tequila tasting sessions open to everyone.


Making Hay


There’s arguably never been a better time to be a temporary worker in the hospitality sector. Wages can’t keep rising indefinitely, but as the evidence from the US suggests, even when the pay rises settle back, there are other ways employers will find to make you feel more valued – and to keep you loyal.

Every business says ‘our people are our most valuable asset’. If you’re working in hospitality right now, it’s never been truer. So take advantage of it. To find out more about how you can find work on your terms