A study by the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) shows that while Brexit is having a noticeable effect recruitment in the hospitality and events industry, businesses sat its overall impact is limited.

The second annual Brexit survey of HBAA members found that 9.6 per cent of respondents said the UK’s decision to leave the EU had impacted recruitment – up from 2.3 per cent in 2017’s survey. Conversely, the percentage of those who have seen no effect has reduced from 80.3 per cent to 67.3 per cent, with 23.1 per cent saying it has had little effect.

The majority (90.6 per cent) of respondents said entry-level posts are proving the hardest to fill since the Referendum vote, while 62.5 per cent are having trouble recruiting mid-level roles and 56.2 per cent report problems filling senior positions. However, 86.3 per cent have not changed their recruitment policy since the vote.

Considering their business as a whole, more than half (57.7 per cent) of respondents said Brexit has had no effect – up from 47.7 per cent last year. Meanwhile, the number saying it has had a significant impact has gone down from 7 per cent to 5.8 per cent.

While 20.2 per cent said the Brexit impact has increased in the last year, 63.5 per cent believed it has stayed the same and 15.3 per cent have noticed less of an effect than in 2017.

Juliet Price, consultant executive director of the HBAA and member of the Event Industry Board’s Talent Taskforce, said: “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.”

Louise Goalen, chair of the HBAA, added: “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.”


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