Pubs seek to lure young people from Europe to ease staffing issues

Pubs seek to lure young people from Europe to ease staffing issues

Finding skilled staff has become more difficult since the pandemic.

The hospitality industry is looking to encourage young unemployed people from Greece and Spain to come to Ireland to address their staffing problems.

The Oireachtas Tourism committee heard on Wednesday from representatives of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation Ireland (VFI) who say that pubs across the country in rural and urban areas are having issues finding staff.

Their respective reports found that 79% of members reported that uncertainty about the future of the pub trade was the main reason.

An estimated one third of all staff have departed the sector, given the shortages of skilled workers that existed pre Covid.

Some of the key business impacts arising from the shortage of staff include reduced number of trading hours due to later opening and reduced number of trading days. Some 88% of members said recruitment was a serious difficulty, while 89% of members were worried about shortages this year.

The groups said they were looking at the live register and trying to attract more people into the industry.

“We're also looking from an international perspective and working with COG and Fáilte Ireland to see about putting on some conferences possibly in Spain, Italy, Greece, where there is a high young unemployment rate and maybe encourage them to come to Ireland,” Donall O’Keeffe from the LVA said.

“So it's looking locally and looking internationally as well. But obviously [we are] trying to make the whole industry attractive.” 

Paul Clancy, CEO of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), said its international efforts were focused on accessing staff from European markets, because it's a matter of selecting which market has the best potential.

“We're also supporting Ukrainian people in Ireland who wish to work in the hospitality sector,” he said.

“We're working with COG and Fáilte Ireland identifying the barriers there."

Mr Clancy said the visa system was an issue for non-EU workers.

“The requirement to have the job advertised for four weeks, then get your applicant, and then process the visa isn't a practical response for a business that needs a chef or senior manager this week or this month," he said.

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