Hosts With the Most: Hourly Pay for Hospitality Shift Work Soars by Up to Seven Times the National Average Amid Staff Shortages

18th February 2022

  • Hospitality sector wages for shift work on the Indeed Flex online marketplace spiked by up to 28% in 2021 amid a staffing crisis, with hosts and bartenders receiving the biggest pay increases
  • Wage growth for temporary staff in hospitality, logistics and retail is outstripping the UK’s 3.7% average rate of regular pay growth for all workers by as much as seven times

London, 18th February 2022 – Severe staff shortages have pushed up hourly rates of pay for temporary workers in the hospitality sector by up to 28% in a year, according to Indeed Flex, the online marketplace for flexible workers.

Analysis of thousands of shifts posted on Indeed Flex found that hourly rates for temp workers in the hospitality, logistics, retail and industrial sectors are outstripping the UK’s average rate of regular pay growth for all workers by as much as seven times.

Those enjoying the biggest boost to their earning power all work in the hospitality sector. Average hourly shift pay for hosts and bartenders soared by 28% in 2021 compared to 2020 levels, while kitchen porters saw their hourly rate jump by 27%.

By contrast, official statistics released this week by the ONS show that between October and December 2021, the average UK worker’s regular pay rose by just 3.7% from a year earlier.

The ONS data also provides a clue to why certain sectors are seeing such explosive rates of wage growth. In the three months to the end of January 2022, there were over half a million (513,700) more vacancies across the UK than in the months leading up to the pandemic’s arrival. Vacancies in the accommodation and food services sector in particular have spiked, climbing to more than double their pre-pandemic level (up 112%).

Other industry sectors in which vacancies have soared are also seeing wages rise rapidly. Indeed Flex’s data shows that wages for temporary facilities management workers in the logistics sector grew by 21% in 2021 compared to their 2020 level, with temporary retail staff enjoying a 6% uplift to their hourly rate.

Temporary shift work posted on Indeed Flex with the biggest annual increase in average hourly pay

Job title Average 2021 hourly pay Annual increase
Host £13.45 28%
Bartender £12.56 28%
Kitchen porter £12.52 27%
Waiting staff £12.43 23%
Cleaner £12.56 22%
Loader/Crew £12.28 20%
Bar back £11.83 19%
Chef de Partie £16.18 19%
Food Prep Assistant £12.39 19%
Housekeeping £11.67 19%

It’s not just in hospitality and logistics where temps have seen double-digit pay growth. Hourly rates for festival staff rose by 14% and average pay for forklift drivers jumped by 13% between 2020 and 2021.

Novo Constare, COO and Co-founder of Indeed Flex, said:

“Across the UK there were 1.3 million job vacancies in the three months to January, the highest number on record, meaning jobseekers are often spoilt for choice over where they work. With thousands of businesses seeking to hire more people, in many sectors the supply of candidates just isn’t keeping up.

“That’s why many employers are ramping up pay in order to attract the people they need. The hospitality sector is blazing a trail with the biggest wage increases for temporary work, but employers in other sectors who are struggling to recruit also need to consider increasing wages further. For instance, the logistics’ sector’s average of a 6% pay increase is not enticing enough workers through the door to fill all vacancies and shifts.

“Many employers aren’t just paying more, they’re also thinking more about the type of workers they want and an increasing number have come to see temporary staff not as a ‘get out of jail’ card, but as a trump card.

“When the labour market is as tight as this, attracting and onboarding permanent staff can be a drag on time and productivity. By contrast, employers who include temporary workers in their staffing strategy gain instant flexibility and can dial their team up or down as required.

“Meanwhile for workers who like variety and want to boost their earnings far faster than they could in a permanent job, temporary work can provide an attractive work-life balance. At present it’s a real jobseeker’s market, and temporary work in hospitality is giving many people the chance to turbocharge their pay packets.”