The Government is in discussions with officials from other jurisdictions about sourcing hotel, bar and restaurant workers from Commonwealth countries for 2022, after Jersey’s hospitality sector limped through summer short of 1,500 workers.
The tough summer followed the industry - which underpins the island's ability to attract tourists - taking a £102m hit last year.
Figures released by Statistics Jersey on Friday showed that the industry’s economic output was £122m in 2020, 45% down on 2019 when it was £224m.
It was the greatest decrease of any sector, with the next largest hits to transport and agriculture whose value to the island’s economy fell 22% and 23% respectively.
Hospitality also saw its productivity take the largest hit of any industry, with each employee’s economic contribution standing at £27,000 in comparison to a £70,000 average across all sectors.
While this summer saw more venues able to open their doors again, many still struggled with covid and Brexit-linked staff shortages, forcing them to scale back their offering or even temporarily close.
Pictured: How different industries were hit during 2020. (Statistics Jersey)
While there are currently 174 vacancies advertised on the gov.je jobs page, recent research by Jersey Business and the Jersey Hospitality Association has suggested that the sector was up to 1,500 workers short this summer.
Referencing this research, Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham said last week in response to a question from Deputy Mike Higgins that the “supply of labour in that sector is predicted to remain tight for the foreseeable future in Jersey” and, as such, the Government is exploring options for helping to plug this gap by working with other Commonwealth jurisdictions.
Asked for further detail about this work, a Government spokesperson told Express: “Initial discussions are being held between Government officials from Jersey and from other jurisdictions on the possibility of securing peak season sources of labour from other parts of the Commonwealth.
They did not answer questions on which Commonwealth jurisdictions were being targeted in particular.
The spokesperson added: “Jersey officials will also be liaising with local sector representatives and key organisations to ensure that industry needs are adequately represented.”
But hospitality isn’t the only area that has been hit – “there is also a degree of unmet demand across a range of other sectors, including retail, social care and construction”, according to Senator Farnham.
There are currently 126 vacancies on the gov.je jobs site in retail, sales, warehouse and fulfilment roles, 82 in health and social care, and 78 in building and construction.
"A broad range of Government actions are therefore being deployed in response [to recruitment issues in these areas]," the Economic Development Minister said.
"Amongst other things, Skills Jersey is currently reviewing the supply and demand for heavy goods vehicle drivers in the Island and researching delivery options for a Cyber Security apprenticeship pathway. The Fiscal Stimulus Fund is supporting a project that will encourage domiciliary care providers to recruit and train new staff members to provide home care services.
"Looking to the future, Government is developing a Skills Strategy in recognition of the fact that the pace of evolution across many economic sectors will change both the overall requirement for staff and the particular skills that employers in those sectors require."
Statistics Jersey's GVA (gross value added) report, which measure the growth and contraction of the island's economy, showed that the overall value of Jersey's economy in 2020 was £4.6bn, a fall of £600m from £5.1bn in 2019.
Express recently spoke to the new head of the island's key hospitality lobby group, Claire Boscq-Scott, about the challenges facing the industry...
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