Recruitment and Retention
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.
There are specific concerns about post-Brexit restrictions on workers from the EU. The greatest fears centre on the Government’s current policy around migrant workers, which includes a £30,000 skills cap. With a wide range of part-time and seasonal jobs in tourism, along with more customer focussed front-of-house staff, the vast majority of Cumbria’s tourism workers fall beneath this £30,000 threshold.
The issue of future restrictions has been repeatedly highlighted by businesses and organisations such as Cumbria Tourism. It is echoed by research by UKInbound and Canterbury Christ Church University which concluded that current Government immigration policy has the potential to severely destabilise the tourism industry in the UK.
We also 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.
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.