Jersey's hospitality boss is calling on islanders to consider a career in the sector, after covid and Brexit “created a perfect storm” for recruitment.
JHA Chief Executive Simon Soar's comments come ahead of the JHA’s Careers Fair at the Pomme D'Or on Monday.
Pictured: The Jersey Hospitality Association are hoping to encourage locals to sign up for work at restaurants, bars, and hotels across the island.
Mr Soar explained that “recruitment has been challenging for many years. It’s something we are aware of and have been working on and we were managing that successfully. But both covid and Brexit have created the perfect storm of increasing problems in recruitment.
“While in the past we would have been able to recruit some of the seasonal staff that are needed during the busy summer from Europe, but because of Brexit they now need work permits.
“So, we have to look at the Common Travel Area but because of covid, many of the suitable staff there are on furlough and have no incentive to come and work here.
“That’s on top of the problems we have all faced in the last 14 months with covid, plus the enforced closure of many hospitality businesses due to covid restrictions, especially over the Christmas period when the industry needed to make money to keep going until this year’s season started, so it is causing us problems this year.”
Pictured: JHA Head Simon Soar discussed how issues such as Brexit's new immigration rules had an impact on hospitality recruitment.
This previous dependency on immigration for the industry the was reflected in the JHA’s letter to the Government in February, which asked them to reconsider the island’s population policy in light of Brexit curbing the amount of free-moving individuals who could enter the island.
Mr Soar explained that the reliance on this immigrant workforce came from a historic struggle to recruit local people, but that Brexit had offered up complications not only in the amount of people who can no longer come into the island, but also in being able to bid for the staff that are able to work on the island.
“We have always struggled to attract enough local people so we have had to rely on a foreign workforce. Traditionally we have attracted people from Europe as well as those from outside the EU,” he explained.
“Since Brexit, more businesses are looking at taking people on from outside the EU and that comes with a big price tag. The advantage is that they are then tied to the business but those that are recruited from with the Common Travel Area, it’s easy to move to another business that’s offering slightly more money.
“That’s causing wage inflation, and, in some cases, businesses are being out bid and simply cannot get the staff they need, further exasperating the problems they are already facing because of covid.”
Pictured: The Jersey Hospitality Association's Careers Fair will take place on Monday at the Pomme d'Or.
The Careers Fair is aimed at showcasing the industry to those on the Government’s ‘Back to Work scheme’, as well as those seeking out new career paths, students or those seeking work after leaving education.
It’s hoped that it will pique local interest in the industry, and get more people signing up for roles in establishments like hotels, restaurants and guest houses.
As well as wanting to attract Jersey’s overall working population, Mr Soar highlighted the importance of getting young people involved, stating how the Association are “also targeting the student population within the island because they help supplement the casual shifts where you need the extra staff.
“It’s great for their CVs, provides them with extra cash. Above all, it’s an opportunity to learn key soft skills and core skills that can be transposed to any industry out there, forming a valuable foundation to any and all careers.”
Pictured: Mr Soar pointed out that jobs in hospitality are diverse, ranging from customer service to catering to account management.
Encouraging people from all walks of life and careers to come down to the event, he added: “What we would like to see is more local people choosing hospitality as a career, or at least somewhere to start learning the skills that will set them up for other careers as they gain experience.
“The thing about hospitality is that it provides opportunities to learn a huge range of skills from customer service and professional culinary skills, to accounts management and human resources. And you can take the skills and experience learnt in Jersey and use them all over the world.
“We have a fantastic hospitality offering in Jersey and it would be amazing to see more local people being a part of the exciting future as we move the industry forward.”
Islanders will be able to visit the Careers Fair at the P’omme d’Or Hotel on Monday from 12:00 to 18:30,
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