A look at the challenges to recruitment – post COVID.

As retail, hospitality, and the leisure industries start to trade more freely, vacancy numbers are rising.  The BBC’s online article ‘Restaurants struggle to find staff ahead of reopening‘ looks at recruitment post COVID focusing on bars and restaurants.  In this business sector the problem is so acute some operators have expressed the possibility ‘they may fail to fully reopen after 17th May 2021’.

Why is it happening?

A reason for the shortage could be the high number of workers who left the hospitality sector during the pandemic and have decided not to return.  Some figures suggest more than one in ten UK hospitality workers chose to leave the industry in the past 12 months.  Caterer.com, a specialist hospitality recruitment website, point to the pandemic as a key factor behind this exodus.

Many employees in retail and hospitality were affected by job losses during 2020.  Some were forced to take alternative employment often in different industries and a proportion of these individuals now feel their new job gives them greater stability of employment than the one they left.

Brexit may also have caused some potential employees to leave the UK altogether and many have no plans to return.  ‘Will Brexit bring a talent exodus?  by Jo Faragher for People Management looks at this issue in more detail.

Rising Vacancies

Caterer.com, state they have experienced an increase of 85% in advertisements in recent weeks.   However, rising employer needs may not just be a hospitality issue.  The Office for National Statistics, collect information about online advertising across all industries.  They report a steady increase in the number of online job adverts posted in the wholesale and retail, health care and construction sectors across the UK.   Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society – Office for National Statistics

Recruiting new staff for your business has always taken time and effort.  For some industries recruitment post COVID currently is a very acute problem.

What action can you take?

Create a Robust Recruitment Process

A key part in successfully hiring is a robust and transparent recruitment process.  An article from HR Magazine, Businesses judged by poor recruitment processes looks at how ‘Businesses lacking proper recruitment processes could risk losing out on talented employees’.

It reviews the need for any hiring manager to strike the right balance between recruiting on the basis of skill versus aptitude.  It looks at how to take advantage of automated candidates tools to help manage the recruitment process along with when to blend these with human interaction.

Appropriate questioning during the interview process, will also help you engage the candidate best suited to the job.  It is not sufficient only to look at where applicants have worked before.  Remember to examine what applicants have done in previous jobs along with how well they carried out their responsibilities.   Good open questions can reveal much about their strengths and development areas.

Check your Advertisements

Advertising is the starting point of your recruitment process.  It gives you the first opportunity promote your business to prospective employees.  Create a good first impression with the use of strong branding.

Be aware of unconscious bias when writing adverts in order not to put some candidates off.  When you show your commitment to inclusivity you will attract a wide range of candidate experience to your business.

Recruitment adverts are often read on devices like phones, laptops as well as desktop PC’s.  It is difficult to read long paragraphs on smaller devices, think about how readable your advert is on all types of media.

Visuals are a good way to share your message.

Brevity is key.  To be more effective use

  • short sentences,
  • single sentence paragraphs,
  • bullet points.


The labour market faces a number of challenges in coming months.  If you have a robust recruitment process with adverts written to attract a wide range of candidate experience you will be better supported to fill your recruitment needs quickly and effectively.

Clink on Recruitment and Talent Management in order to make contact as well as to find out more about our recruitment services and recruitment training.

Sources: Amie Keeley – BBC Business 30 April 2021. Jo Faragher – People Management 9 April 2021. Emma Greedy – HR Review 21 April 2021. Office for National Statistics. theundercoverrecruiter.com