Migrant Workers Essential to Hospitality Industry

The importance of migrant workers to the UK hospitality industry has been highlighted in a new report. Findings featured in the ‘Migrants in the Hospitality Industry’ study show that 26% of the workforce in this sector comprises of migrants, with 28% coming from Europe.

Without these people, employers at restaurants, pubs and hotels would have major difficulties filling essential roles.

Around 90,000 chefs in Britain are migrants, while 44,000 are restaurant and catering managers. A considerable amount of workers are managers (28%) and they fill 37% of skilled positions in the industry.

On top of this, the number of migrant employees has grown considerably in recent years – 23% since 2009.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels rely heavily on migrant workers

Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director at People 1st, a workforce development charity, stressed how it was the many migrants working in the industry that were helping to meet businesses’ needs.

He said: “It’s a simple fact that without migrants working in our industry, we would have far greater skill gaps and skills shortages that we currently do.

“In fact, our industry is the fourth largest employer of people from abroad, with 6% of all migrants in the UK working in hospitality.

“That counts for a lot of jobs and we’re now starting to see just how important they are.”

The report also suggests that migrant workers are generally higher quality employees than British staff; they’re said to be more flexible and willing to undertake shift work, have better soft skills and are willing to accept a job with poor pay that may be lower than their skill levels.

While migrants play a major part in the hospitality industry across Britain, they are mainly concentrated in London (69%), Greater Manchester (25%) and the West Midlands (28%).