A Second Tough Christmas for Hospitality as Vacancies set to Hit All Time High

Analysis of ONS vacancy data by work app Stint, finds that hospitality vacancies could be as high as 163,000 as the UK heads into the festive season.

Stint analysed the past 10 years of vacancy data and used a sophisticated forecasting model to calculate that available jobs this December could be up to 75,000 higher than two years ago. The number of vacancies in the hospitality industry has been increasing year-on-year, usually peaking towards the close of the year. However, the pandemic has exacerbated this problem, meaning that short staffed restaurants will be left unable to take full advantage of the busy Christmas period.


Year Number of hospitality vacancies in December Percentage increase in December vacancies compared to 2010
2010 43,000 N/A
2015 84,000 95%
2019 (pre-pandemic) 88,000 105%
2021 (forecasted) 163,000 279%


One of the key staffing issues the pandemic has created is bar staff, waiters and concierges not returning from furlough. Over the last six months of furlough the number of individuals in the sector accessing the scheme fell by 831,000, yet during the same period hospitality vacancies increased by almost 100,000. Rather than returning to the industry, many have seemingly moved on with 151,000 industry jobs currently available, according to the most recent ONS data.

To help attract talent – old and new – to the industry, Stint is calling on the Government to raise the Employer National Insurance Contribution threshold above the rate of inflation, to help businesses increase wages above the rising cost of living.

Sol Schlagman, CEO and Co-founder of Stint, said: “The hospitality industry could be facing a second tough Christmas if these staffing holes aren’t plugged in time. We are trying to help, providing full-time staff with support from Stint’s students, but we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re calling on the Government to encourage businesses to invest in their staff by raising the National Insurance Contribution threshold. The additional money granted to businesses will then help attract and keep the best talent.”