South-West hospitality struggles to meet demand with lack of applicants

A Bridport visitor attraction says it is suffering from a lack of job applicants as it approaches its busiest time of the year.

Freshwater Beach Holiday Park is “struggling” to fill bar staff and kitchen porter roles especially, according to general manager Mike Smyth. At the same time, Dorset’s Frontline Recruitment says it, too, is struggling to meet applicant demand for “hundreds of jobs” it has on offer.

Karen Wisbey, business manager at Frontline in Weymouth, says “good quality candidates” are becoming increasingly difficult to find. “Hospitality is huge in Dorset but we can already see the industry is going to be starved of talent as things open up and the lockdown eases.”

Wisbey adds: “With most UK holidaymakers set to stay in the UK this summer because of the complications with overseas travel, we have hundreds of vacancies that we simply aren’t seeing enough good quality applicants for.”

Freshwater Beach’s Smyth says that the problem around lack of candidates has been looming for a few years but has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. “It was much more severe [last year] but we put that down to people’s nerves possibly… and lack of esteem having not socialised during the height of the pandemic.

“The problem is very much widespread in this area, with nearly all hospitality establishments trying very hard to recruit staff.”

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