UK tourism recovery at risk due to job vacancies
As revealed by the WTTC, there are 130,000 unfilled positions. Critical staffing shortages are now acute in transportation, particularly in the aviation industry
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is warning that the recovery of the Travel & Tourism sector is at serious risk as almost 130,000 jobs remain unfilled across the UK.
According to the world tourism body, the UK is expected to experience a shortfall of 128,000 jobs, with one in 14 jobs expected to remain unfilled. Restaurants and hotels struggle to find staff, but the UK government, unlike countries like Portugal, refuses to allow in temporary workers from abroad.
The UK hospitality, entertainment and aviation industries are forecast to be the hardest hit, facing unfilled vacancies of 18% (one in six), 12% (one in eight) and 11% (one in nine ), respectively.
Critical staffing shortages are now acute in transportation, particularly in the aviation industry, which is struggling to cope with post-pandemic travel demand.
Before the 2019 pandemic, 1.8 million people were employed in travel and tourism in the UK; by 2020, more than 200,000 had lost their jobs*.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “The UK's recovery is at risk. The government is not using the flexibility of the visa system to attract workers to the UK. Travel and tourism contributed almost £235 billion to the economy and employed almost two million people.
“Now visitors are arriving and find unstaffed restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues, and we will lose these travelers and their dollars in other countries.
“The big brands can't understand why countries in Europe are bringing in skilled workers like chefs, but the UK Home Office is not implementing the flexible 'points system' visas they promised.
“The sector was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, it lost 50% of its value, it needs government action now.”
“In retail, UK stores are still reeling from the UK government's decision to scrap VAT refunds for visitors. It means that tourists can save 20% on goods if they choose Paris instead of London. The Minister of Finance needs to analyze this urgently”.
Despite the UK government's furlough scheme, which brought much-needed relief to the sector, the WTTC says more support is needed to fill these vacancies, which in turn will boost the economy through its contribution to the UK's GDP. country.
During the second half of 2022, data indicates that labor supply will continue to fall short of demand, with the gap projected to widen further in the third quarter of 2022 as demand approaches pre-cut levels. pandemic.
Last week, the WTTC revealed that up to 1.2 million jobs across the EU will remain unfilled, with hospitality, air transport and travel agencies being the hardest hit.
Some of the key measures identified in the report for both governments and the private sector to address the talent gap are:
1. Facilitate labor mobility across international borders, with more favorable visa policies
2. Allow for flexible and remote working where feasible, allowing for part-time or contractor-based opportunities where possible
3. Ensure decent work and competitive employee benefits and average salary increases worldwide sector
4. Attract talent by improving job perception and promoting viable career paths with growth opportunities
5. Develop and support a skilled workforce through comprehensive educational programs , as well as improve and retrain current talent
6. Adopt innovative technology and digital solutions to relieve pressure on staff, improve daily operations, and improve customer experience
The world tourism body believes that by implementing these measures, travel and tourism companies will be able to attract more workers.
This, in turn, would allow the sector to meet growing consumer demand and further accelerate its recovery, which is the backbone for generating economic well-being across the country.