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Staff appeal

Over-50s targeted in bid to fill hospitality vacancies

Older worker

Older workers are already filling gaps in sectors such as DIY

Scotland’s pubs, hotels and restaurants believe a generation of ‘silver servers’ could be the answer to a staffing shortage.

The Scottish Hospitality Group, representing a number of chains, is appealing to the over-50s, with or without experience, to join the trade and help plug the huge staffing gap that is crippling the sector.

It says that with furlough ending this month, thousands of older workers could be out of a job and should consider switching to the hospitality trade.

Older workers have been recruited to other sectors, notably care, supermarkets and DIY stores and are helping ease problems exacerbated by foreign workers leaving Britain because of Brexit and Covid.

SHG has revealed its members are currently seeking to fill 500 vacancies as younger staff leave due to the strain of ongoing understaffing issues.

As the recruitment calamity reaches fever-pitch, bosses also disclosed that they are having to self-impose lockdowns at their top venues, opening fewer days during the week and reducing opening hours to prevent staff burnout.

Stephen Montgomery spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group added: “The industry is on its knees, and we are looking for solutions at every turn, I hope this could be it.

“Hospitality has taken a bashing, but that’s been caused by the fractured state it’s been left in after the pandemic. With enough people back in our venues, it’s a valuable, flexible and enjoyable career for anyone willing to get stuck in.

“We need help to save the industry; our members are currently looking for 500 staff, but we know of around another 500 roles that could be created as part of planned upgrades or new venues in the pipeline – totalling some £30m of investment – however, this all hangs in the balance because of the current jobs market. If we can entice a generation of ‘silver servers’ in, they could save us.”

Targeting over 50s could also be the answer to the UK unemployment figures after pre-pandemic research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that 55-65-year-olds are less likely to make a comeback following spells of unemployment, with less than one in three over 55-year-olds returning to work.  

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