The Irish hospitality sector faces a ‘perfect storm’ of legislative employment changes and increasing wage demands in 2024, particularly for catering assistants and bar and waiting staff.
This is according to Excel Recruitment’s Hotel & Catering Salary Guide, which was published this week.
The guide tracks changes in salary for a plethora of roles across the hospitality sector and shows that chefs have secured some of the greatest pay rises in the sector, due, in large part, to the high demand for such staff. For example, the average salary of a second-year commis chef has risen by about 14% – up from €28,000 to €32,000 – while a sous-chef can expect to earn an average salary of €52,000 in 2024 – up from €47,000 in 2023.
Meanwhile, a junior sous-chef can now expect a typical salary of €45,000 – up from €40,000 a year ago (+12.5%).
Across The Board
The guide indicates that there have been salary increases across the board in a variety of roles, ranging from wedding coordinators to waiting staff, bar managers and receptionists, among others. For example, the average salary for a receptionist has increased from €32,000 to €36,000, while a wedding coordinator can expect to earn €40,000, on average, in 2024 – up from €37,500 in 2023.
“Without a doubt, the biggest threat facing the hospitality industry in 2024 is the spiralling cost of employment, and not a shortage of staff,” said Shane McLave, managing director of Excel Recruitment, “but the devil is in the detail: the wage increases we are seeing are in more junior roles.
“While you might think that pay increases in lower-paid roles should not be as much of a challenge for businesses as increases in higher-paid roles, that is not the case. Positions such as bar staff, waiting staff and catering assistants are what are known as ‘high-volume roles’, meaning that businesses need a lot of staff in these positions in order to function.
“With the increase in the minimum wage, we are seeing that what were once supervisory salaries are now being offered for entry-level positions, as well as to bar and waiting staff, with pay rates there raising from €13 to €15 per hour.”
Excel Recruitment cites a recent IBEC report that found that while 84% of businesses increased wages in 2023, a further 82% plan on increasing them again in 2024.
The recruitment specialists warn that the cost of employment is going up, and this will result in many small and independent establishments closing their doors for the last time.
“The cumulative effect of the seemingly modest incremental increases that we are seeing across the board in these lower-paid but high-volume roles is putting huge pressure on businesses in the hospitality industry, and this will dominate the fortunes of the hotel and category sector in 2024,” said McLave.
“Wage increases could cripple Irish hospitality businesses in 2024.”