Written answers

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Labour Market

Photo of Alan FarrellAlan Farrell (Dublin Fingal, Fine Gael)
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17. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will provide an update on employment within the hospitality sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44479/22]

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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Responsibility for the hospitality sector is within the remit of Minister Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

According to the latest available national employment figures, from the CSO's Labour Force Survey, employment levels reached 2.55 million in Q2 2022. We now have more people employed in our country than ever before, while the quarterly unemployment rate stands at 4.4% - levels not seen since 2005.

It is especially welcome to see a strong recovery in the Accommodation and Food Service sector, with employment in this sector increasing by 40% in the past 12 months. In Q2 2022 employment had increased to 168,200; this consisted of 50,300 working in the accommodation sub-sector and 117,900 work in the Food and Beverage Service activities sub-sector. 57 percent of those working in the sector are female.

The impact of the pandemic was not equal across sectors, and those in the Hospitality sector were significantly affected. Our strong policy interventions during the pandemic – rapidly rolling out the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme and Pandemic Unemployment Payment – appear to have minimised any long-term labour market scarring in the sector.

The increase in employment was also supported by the approval of employment permits for the sector. Since the start of May, 1,345 applications for Chefs have been processed by my Department. 30 permits for hotel and accommodation managers have also been issued, out of an available 350 in the quota announced in October 2021, with a further 11 awaiting processing.

Of those Ukrainians who have arrived under the protection of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive, over 4,000 have also been integrated into roles in the Accommodation and Food sector.

Through EURES Ireland, which is managed by the Department of Social Protection, Irish hospitality opportunities have been a focus of EU recruitment events, and the EURES Ireland team have been working closely with Spain in particular in seeking to recruit for vacancies in Ireland.

Sustaining further increases in the hospitality workforce, however, will ultimately depend on the sector addressing its longstanding workforce recruitment and retention issues, which pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic.

I understand that the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group, chaired by Fáilte Ireland under the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, is working to support these sectors in driving their long-term repositioning as appealing and rewarding career choices and ensure a future pipeline of talent.

My Department’s initiatives to improve workers’ rights, including the introduction of statutory sick leave, legislative protection of tips and gratuities, and the planned transition to a living wage, will work to support these efforts.


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