The number of job vacancies in the hospitality sector fell by 15,000 over the last quarter, figures released by the Office of National Statistics reveal.
There were 158,000 unfilled roles in the accommodation and foodservice sectors between July and September this year, down from 173,000 from April to June.
Many hospitality operators have increased wages and promoted generous incentives this year following a widespread shortage of staff, with some targeting older workers and offering on the job training to people without CVs.
Other operators have increased “staff perks”, offered more flexible shifts, and helped with general cost of living expenses.
Overall, output in consumer-facing services fell by 1.8% in August 2022, following growth of 0.7% in July 2022. Consumer-facing services were 8.9% below their pre-coronavirus levels (February 2020) in August 2022, while all other services were 2.1% above (Figure 4).
The largest negative contributing industry was sports activities and amusement and recreation activities, which fell by 9.4% in the month. This follows a strong July growth of 12.7% in which a number of large sporting events took place.
The second-largest contributor to the fall in consumer-facing services was retail trade which fell by 1.6% in August 2022. This is the largest fall for the industry since December 2021; the industry has now fallen nine times in the last 10 months.
The ONS publication Retail sales, Great Britain: August 2022 notes a downward trend in the industry since summer 2021 following the lifting of restrictions on hospitality; and that in recent months, rising prices and cost of living are also affecting sales volumes.
These falls were partially offset by a rise in veterinary activities of 4.6% in August 2022 after two consecutive falls of 1.3% in July and 1.3% in June.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Hospitality businesses have taken significant steps to attract new employees with higher wages, attractive training and development opportunities and flexible working practices, and this drop in vacancy numbers shows this work is beginning to pay off.
“Despite this decrease, there are still significant vacancies, stifling our ability to drive growth. There is still work to do and we continue to hear from businesses about how recruitment challenges are putting the brakes on recovery.
“Steps from government such as ensuring skills and recruitment initiatives are open to all sectors, a comprehensive employment and skills strategy, and making the Skilled Worker Visa route more streamlined and affordable would be significant in realising hospitality’s potential to drive economic growth and value to the economy.”