European Spa magazine - Summer Issue 80

Page 72

Thought Leadership The Big Debate



How do we solve the recruitment crisis? European Spa invites four industry experts to provide advice for successful and future-proof team building



he recruitment and retention of staff has become an increasingly urgent issue for hospitality businesses due to the effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, with some 355,000 people having left the industry since March 2020, representing about a tenth of the workforce, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. The spa and wellness sector has suffered significantly as part of this shift with many therapists still on furlough and those coming off government support often re-evaluating their position and deciding to go freelance or leaving the industry entirely. There is also a reluctance to switch roles due to continuing uncertainty in the market. “Recruitment within the wellness sector is experiencing major issues along with hospitality shortages across the UK,” says Angela Smith, managing director of La Source International. “There has never been a lower point that I have been aware of in 18 years of speciality recruitment for this sector.” Brexit has also impacted on the number of trained EU therapists working in the UK. Applications for work visas are reported to be taking six to eight weeks to process and skills-based immigration laws make it more complex to employ EU workers who are classified as ‘unskilled’. “There is a real skills gap in the industry,” says Lorraine Jackson, a recruitment executive at Red Careers. “Therapists are moving into more facial and aesthetic roles, which are less physically demanding and offer better hours and increased pay opportunities.” Compounding the issue is an apparent disparity in remuneration with La Source International currently advertising spa therapist positions at a salaries ranging between £20,000-£33,000 per year. However, competition to attract skilled therapists is fierce as demand for spa and wellness increases and the industry needs to recruit and retain talent more than ever before. Our guest experts share their advice on how to strengthen and build your spa team.