Two thirds of businesses confident of growth despite challenges

Barclays report finds a majority of Scottish hospitality and leisure businesses are confident despite staffing and costs crises

OVER two thirds of Scottish hospitality and leisure businesses are confident of growth in 2022 despite serious challenges such as staffing and the rising costs.

A new report from Barclays found that 68% of hospitality and leisure businesses in Scotland are confident of growth this year, predicting an average uplift of 23.6% in revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels.

This was despite issues such as the ongoing recruitment crisis and rising product and energy costs.

The research found that Scottish businesses are adopting a range of measures to attract additional staff, including becoming B Corp-certified, offering flexible working arrangements and making changes to the way staff are tipped. Wages are also being increased, and 86% of Scottish businesses polled said they were planning to hire refugees to help fill their vacancies.

“The hospitality and leisure industry was undoubtedly one of the hardest hit by prolonged periods of lockdown during the pandemic,” said Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking.

“In the early part of 2022 however, in a society free from restrictions, the sector enjoyed strong sales, leaving many confident about their growth prospects.

“The worsening cost-of-living crisis is now a serious threat to that growth, with the latest Barclaycard Consumer Spending Index showing that restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs have all seen a slight decline in May 2022, compared to the month before.

“Crucially for the industry, our research shows that talent shortages are also a major concern, with businesses in every vertical finding it challenging to fill their vacancies. It means there is now an added imperative for hospitality and leisure firms to find new and novel ways to recruit, reward and retain their staff.”