Recruitment and Retention
European workers are an important asset in our county, but a heavily tourism-reliant area like Cumbria does face some unique challenges around its migrant workforce. We know that Cumbria’s population is less than half a million – and aging fast – which means there is a limit on the number of eligible working age people available locally. In fact, hospitality has the highest level of job vacancies, the highest level of difficult-to-fill vacancies and the highest level of retention difficulties.
The Tourism Alliance has warned that there have been fewer applications from EU nationals to work in the UK since the EU Referendum. That’s backed up by research from Cumbria Tourism, which reveals that 38% of tourism businesses in our county think recruitment is a ‘significant’ problem, while a further 28% believe it is a ‘slight ‘problem – that’s 64% in total.
A ‘health check’ of tourism businesses carried out by Cumbria Tourism also revealed that almost half (46%) of tourism operators reported problems with retaining staff.
A number of CT members have since also told us that many European workers who have gone home during the COVID pandemic haven’t come back.
To help address the skills gap, there is a growing recognition that – as a county – we collectively need to reduce the potential for young talent to move away from Cumbria. A key part of this is continuing to develop an integrated offer that showcases the county as an attraction place not only to visit, but to live and work.