While Brexit and the vote that led to it continues to defy generalisations, it is fair to say that the inherently international hospitality and food manufacturing sectors were never it’s biggest fan. Which adds to the sense of injustice that it is hard to pick a sector that will be more adversely hit by Johnson’s war on what the government choose to call the ‘low skilled’.

As with much Brexit related, what is said and what will actually come to pass has only a passing relationship, but on the matter of immigration, the government have very much shown their intention with today’s announcement of their points-based immigration system to be put in place at the end of 2020.

Figures showing 13% of UK hospitality staff being migrant workers belie far greater concentrations in many locations, particularly London, and so it is inconceivable that many hospitality businesses will not have a harder time recruiting people in an already tight labour market. Pret-a-Manger warned 2 years ago that only 1 in 50 applicants was from the UK. Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said that 60%-70% of workers in meat plants were non-UK labour.

As CCO of OpsBase, it would be remiss of me not to recognise one aspect of the government statement that does make sense; encouraging hospitality businesses to become more efficient through the use of technology. While many OpsBase customers save a substantial amount of time and energy using the platform, it would be bravado of the highest degree to say that technology will magic the people and skills businesses require out of nowhere.

The fight will go on – industry bodies will lobby throughout the year to define what is ‘skilled’ and where exceptions can be be made, but it may take closures of Westminster boozers or Pimlico Bistros for the message to reach those at the top.

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas

CCO - OpsBase

Michael has launched a number of innovative technology products, spanning SaaS to Recruitment, Events and Hospitality. While harbouring a healthy love of the tech, Michael knows that customer success comes not from shiny features alone, but is as much about how it is adopted and communicated to those that need it. Michael has been a regular industry commentator and evangelist throughout his career.

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