What is the current state of play in Food and Beverage Recruitment?

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Food and Beverage Recruitment

Before we drill down and look specifically at food, beverage and hospitality recruitment, it’s worth taking a snapshot of the recruitment sector overall. What’s happening with hiring in the UK at the start of 2022?

It’s reassuring to see a continued recovery in the labour market. Both hiring and confidence in hiring reported by employers are steadily increasing. Most recent weeks are showing a record high of job adverts posted each week (at the end of February 2022 the figure had reached 1.82 million live job ads in the UK). 

The growth is consistent across both permanent and temporary roles. The use of temps and contractors has helped keep the economy moving throughout the pandemic, these workers have jumped in, often at short notice, to take up flexible roles and get the UK back on its feet. 

As the number of job vacancies increases and we’re all still experiencing candidate shortages, starting salaries are increasing. The competition for the best talent is high and candidate attraction should be high on your list of priorities – your overall package needs to appeal to the best and brightest talent in your sector.

The REC recently stated that “Salaries for new permanent joiners rose at the second-fastest rate in over 24 years of data collection, while temp pay also increased sharply.”

Food and Beverage Recruitment

For the food and beverage sector, the above points also apply. Arguably our sector has felt the impact of Brexit on top of the pandemic more acutely with the pool of labour dwindling due to fewer foreign workers coming to the UK. 

Demand for staff in F&B is high. Taking Hotel and Catering specifically, this sector topped the rankings for temporary staff in February 2022. There has also been a sharp increase in the requirement for permanent staff with this being the second-highest sector (only after IT and Computing).

What does this mean for you?

To ensure you have the best chance of hiring quality staff in the F&B sector there are a few steps you can take, particularly considering the above:

Offer better packages specifically starting salaries

If your salary scales are looking the same as they were in 2020, look again. Not only is there more competition for staff but the cost of living is rocketing. Whilst we all hope the latter will level out soon, you need to be offering an attractive package and a lot of that starts with the basic salary.

Rewards and benefits

Remember that package you’re offering is wider than just a basic salary. Whilst this is enticing and what often drawers the attention of a potential candidate, to keep their attention and engagement in working with you, think about what else you are offering. In terms of stability, training, pension contributions and rewards, what’s available to new recruits? There are plenty of benefit programmes available and they don’t cost the earth. Also, consider the working environment you’re offering. How does it compare to your competitors, for example, the office space, catering facilities, uniform, parking etc? 

Workforce planning

This should be at the top of your agenda in terms of planning ahead. Whilst none of us could have predicted what happened over recent years you should be anticipating, as much as possible, your staffing needs for the short, mid and long-term. Recruiting the right staff might take time, especially in a candidate short market so get ahead of the game.

Invest in HR

Have you got an HR resource? If you think your business is too small to warrant an in-house HR function, then outsource it. Use a specialist on a monthly retainer and target them with staff retention as a project. Even as a recruiter, I will advocate that retention of staff is cheaper than recruiting. Keep your teams motivated and engaged, whether that’s through team building events, training, appraisals, management training on employee relations, or greater involvement in company-wide projects.

Use a specialist recruiter

Help alleviate lengthy recruiting times and to ensure you have access to a specialist pool of talent, look for recruiters who operate exclusively in your arena. Whether it’s supply chain specialists, sales and marketing professionals, procurement colleagues or on-premise catering teams you need, a dedicated recruiter will have a database of candidates they can tap into. Beyond that, they know how to access those passive candidates who might not be actively looking but could be tempted to move. However, it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t assume specialists will be queuing up to be employed by you. You still have to take the take time to create an attractive package and move quickly in the recruitment process, keeping your candidates informed along the way.

Challenges for the F&B sector

To say the recent months have been challenging for the F&B sector sounds trite but the recovery is underway. We can and we will bounce back. 

RND Recruitment works with Food and Beverage suppliers and manufacturers across the UK but specifically in London and the South East, giving us access to local specialists. Contact us today for more information 

*Data Sources ONS, REC