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Female workers step up to keep UK pubs afloat

Female workers step up to keep UK pubs afloat

Amidst staff shortages, women are working longer and harder.

London, 5 October 2022 – At a time when the hospitality industry is experiencing record job vacancies, female workers are taking on more shifts than ever to keep British pubs running.

According to a new report, the share of hours worked in pubs and bars by women has increased by 9%, equating to almost half of all shifts worked this year.

In the pub and bar industry, which employs more than 450,000 people across the UK, women are working longer and harder to help businesses cope with staff shortages, putting in 44% of all shift hours in 2022, compared to 35% before the pandemic.

The report from leading shift work platform, Deputy, The Big Shift: Rise of the Neighbourhood Economy, reveals insights into how the hospitality industry is coping more than two years after the pandemic began, amid widespread staffing shortfalls, energy price hikes, the cost of living crisis and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

The report was created in partnership with independent labour economist Shashi Karunanethy PhD, who provided expert insight into market conditions and an analysis of more than 2.3 million shifts and 17.3 million hours worked by 41,884 British hospitality workers.

Shashi Karunanethy said: “The COVID-19 pandemic saw a nearly 95% drop in shift work hours in bars and pubs, a greater decline than the rest of the hospitality industry.

“Following the re-opening of the economy, shifts worked in bars and pubs have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, outlining the strong recovery seen in the sector even compared to the rest of the hospitality industry, which continues to employ nearly 20% fewer shift work hours compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Hospitality businesses are competing in a tight labour market by offering better wages, more flexibility and certainty of shifts, which is encouraging more women into the workforce.”

Recent ONS figures show the hospitality sector as a whole currently has a record 174,000 jobs available and is experiencing 83% more vacancies compared to 2019. Consequently, shift workers are working longer hours, even compared to their average shift work hours before the pandemic or during peak shopping and festive seasons, such as. Christmas, when shift work hours tend to seasonally peak.

According to Shashi Karunanethy, many workers are being driven to work multiple jobs and to increase their share of shift work to cope with the rising cost of living.

Commenting on the report’s findings, David Kelly, General Manager for EMEA at Deputy said: “Last year braced us for some of the challenges hospitality businesses faced due to Brexit, Covid and staff shortages. Nobody could have predicted the conflict in Ukraine, the resulting energy hikes and the cost of living crisis that have followed.

“Through it all, it’s been heartening to see the resilience of business leaders and hospitality workers, who have been able to adapt to changes and keep their spirits high. We welcome the Government energy bill relief scheme that was announced last month and would urge the Government to extend its support beyond the initial six-month period and to other measures so that hospitality businesses survive the winter and do not face a cliff edge in April.

“With a recession looming, many workers have been exiting the industry to other sectors in search of more security, higher wages, predictable schedules and flexibility – all practices that UK hospitality businesses need to embrace to make it through the tough times that are ahead of us.”

For more information and additional findings, access the full report here.

About the research: 

The Big Shift: Rise of the Neighbourhood Economy report was produced by the leading scheduling software platform, Deputy, utilising aggregated Deputy customer data. The report features an industry-focused data analysis of UK shift workers across the hospitality industry. Independent Labor Economist, Shashi Karunanethy PhD, analysed 2,341,565 shifts and 17,342,037 hours across 41,884 British workers to produce the insights in this report.

About Shashi Karunanethy PhD:

Shashi specialises in advisory services in policy and market design, thought leadership in city, workforce and future technologies, and economic strategies. He works closely with various government entities, international development organisations, tech start-ups and ASX-listed companies. 

About Deputy: 

Deputy is on a mission to Simplify Shift Work™ for millions of workers and businesses worldwide. The company streamlines scheduling, timesheets, tasks and communication for business owners and their workers. More than 320,000 workplaces globally use Deputy to manage rotas and communicate with employees, providing millions of shift workers with more flexibility and control over their schedules. Deputy’s software gives businesses the tools they need to create a thriving workplace.

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