Solving the staffing shortage crisis

Solving the Staffing shortage crisis Richard Bradley Poppleston Allen
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2021 has been dubbed ‘the great resignation’ with some reports suggesting 1 in 4 UK workers are planning on changing jobs in the next few months. This comes hot on the heels of a staffing crisis blighting the entire leisure industry, with the land-based gambling sector struggling for staff across the board and unlike other hospitality industries, unable to tap into the pool of labour provided by 16 and 17 years olds – with a few very narrow exceptions. Richard Bradley, Associate Solicitor and land-based gambling industry expert at Poppleston Allen, provides his thoughts on some ways to solve the crisis.

 

Coinslot: What factors are driving the staffing crisis?

Richard Bradley: The headline factors include Brexit, Covid-19 and a potential lack of seasonal staff, but equally it’s worth remembering the pandemic has given rise to many people evaluating their careers and what they want from them, including greater flexibility, a better work/life balance and of course the need to maximise earnings given the inflation gripping the UK at the moment.

Many staff who left hospitality and land-based gambling jobs during the pandemic found employment in sections of the economy which boomed, with many of those changes now becoming permanent.

Richard Bradley Poppleston AllenCoinslot: There are circumstances in which under 18’s can work on licensed premises and other hospitality businesses – does this apply to gambling too?

Richard Bradley: The starting point is that individuals under 18 cannot be employed in any capacity related to the provision of gambling activities.

There are a few exceptions, however, including where the gambling is non-commercial or charitable and when the role relates to the provision of a prize at a travelling fair.

The prohibition also applies to any function connected with the operation of gaming machines and under 18s can be employed in places like pubs and other venues where machines are sited, including family entertainment centres, provided their role does not have anything to do with the machines.

Individuals 17 and over can be employed in licensed bingo premises when the premises are operational, subject to the above point that they are not involved in the provision of gambling activities. Under 18s cannot be employed in licensed casinos, betting or adult gaming centres whilst the venue is operational. It is always worth seeking legal advice when it comes to exploring the above exceptions.

Coinslot: How competitive is hiring in the leisure sector at the moment?

Richard Bradley: Hiring remains incredibly competitive and it looks like we have a buyers’ market, particularly in the south of England where some staff in a variety of and levels are able to request higher salaries.

In some cases, ‘golden hellos’ have even been offered, which would have previously been unheard of.

Coinslot: Retention now looks key – what can operators do to improve this?

Richard Bradley: There are a number of factors employers should consider when it comes to retaining staff. Not only will these reduce turnover but in turn will contribute to a more motivated and better trained workforce which will improve commercial performance for operators. Some examples include:

Offering flexible working as standard. Gambling venues operate around the clock in many cases, which is of huge benefit for those looking to work during night-time hours, but equally a reduction in hours or more fair shift patterns should be considered for employees who prefer a ‘traditional’ working rota.

Offering staff a clear progression plan, where possible, is also very important in conjunction with a provision of training. Given the increasing compliance requirements placed on the industry, providing staff with an opportunity to gain qualifications and competencies in this area, among others, can add to the feeling of a role offering a long-term future.

Universally, employers in all industries are carefully considering their culture. The land-based gambling sector, in all areas, should not be exempt from this societal shift either.

By supporting staff to create a positive culture and providing people with an environment they appreciate and are proud to work in, operators will directly benefit.

RICHARD BRADLEY ACTS FOR A RANGE OF LEISURE OPERATORS FROM SINGLE PREMISE OWNERS TO MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS THAT PROVIDE LAND-BASED AND ONLINE GAMBLING SERVICES. RICHARD PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO CLIENTS INCLUDING CASINOS, BOOKMAKERS, SOCIETY LOTTERIES, BINGO OPERATORS, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE AND ADULT GAMING CENTRE ARCADES, CLUBS, GAMING MACHINE MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS AND GAMBLING SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT POPALL.CO.UK


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