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Employees working longer to keep hospitality doors open

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Hospitality employees are working around six hours a week longer than before the pandemic as the sector works to tackle the recruitment crisis, new figures show.

Analysis of real-time data from workforce management specialist Bizimply’s customers shows that taking March 2020 as the baseline:

  • Employees are now working an average of around 25 hours a week, compared to a pre-pandemic average of 19 hours a week;
  • In food-led businesses, employees are working an average 28 hour week, compared to around 23 hours in wet-led businesses;
  • Fine dining restaurants, which are among the worst affected by recruitment issues, are typically asking their staff to work 40-plus hours a week. Cafés and hotels are also seeing staff notch up longer than average weekly hours at work.

Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw comments: “Most operators have significant numbers of part-time employees, such as students or those juggling work with childcare commitments, so we expect to see the average hours worked to be below the typical full-time tally of around 35 hours.

“However, it’s clear that in food-led sectors, particularly more premium venues such as fine dining and hotels, the recruitment challenge is particularly acute. With experienced chefs and front-of-house staff in very short supply, operators are asking staff to put in longer shifts than ever.”

The figures are an insight into the extra commitment hospitality employees are making. While the average 25 hours a week mark was seen as a peak in the graph during the ‘eat out to help out’ promotion in summer 2020 and then again at the end of December 2021 for Christmas and New Year, the average is now steady at the 25 hour level.

In response to the findings, Bizimply has issued a warning to employers who are currently banking on the goodwill of their staff to keep their doors open, saying: “The balance of power has shifted in hospitality, and employees hold more of the cards. Employers will need to meet their staff’s expectation in terms of work-life balance as a quid pro quo for the extra commitment.”

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