The impact of Brexit on recruitment in the UK hospitality and events industry is increasing but its influence on business in the sector generally has apparently reduced in the last 12 months. These are the key findings of the second annual Brexit survey carried out by the HBAA, the leading association for the events and hospitality industry among its members.

Louise Goalen

A year ago, on the first anniversary of the referendum, only 2.3 per cent of respondents said that Brexit had had a major impact on recruitment. 12 months later that figure has risen to 9.6 percent. Those saying that it has had little effect have increased from 17.4 per cent to 23.1 per cent while the proportion of members seeing no impact on recruitment has correspondingly gone down from 80.3 per cent to 67.3 per cent.

When asked which positions are proving challenging to fill, 90.6 per cent say entry-level posts, 62.5 per cent are having difficulty with middle-level roles and 56.2 per cent report problems filling senior positions. However, as yet 86.3 per cent of organizations have not changed their recruitment policy since the Referendum vote.

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director of the HBAA and a member of the Event Industry Board’s Talent Taskforce commented: “These results give a clear picture of the growing issue that the industry is facing and why the Talent Taskforce initiative to provide evidence to government and secure support in addressing the potential consequences is vital and urgent.”

Impact on business

Considering whether Brexit has had a noticeable impact on their business as a whole, 57.7 per cent now say it has had no impact, up from 47.7 per cent a year ago. The number saying that it has had a significant impact has gone down from 7.0 per cent to 5.8 per cent while those saying it has had a slight effect have declined from 45.3 per cent to 36.5 per cent. 20.2 per cent say that the Brexit impact has increased in the last year, 63.5 per cent report that it has been the same and 15.3 per cent have noticed less effect.

Louise Goalen, HBAA Chair says; “The consensus among members commenting on these trends is that the immediate impact two years ago was a rise in costs due to the significant drop in sterling and a more cautious attitude among clients towards booking events. Over the last 12 months, these challenges seem to have settled down slightly and businesses have adjusted. Now everyone is warily waiting to see what happens next. It will be fascinating to see what everyone thinks 12 months from now when we will have been out for three months!”

For more information about the HBAA, please see www.hbaa.org.uk