Pubs and restaurants throughout the UK are facing a recruitment crisis after the number of job vacancies hit a record high of176,000, twice as many since before Covid.

Currently, there are 1.29million job vacancies across all sectors of the UK economy between April and June this year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with hospitality accounts for 13% of the national total, despite many operators within the sector hiking their staff wages in an industry-wide rush to attract and retain.

The figures rose by 10,200 since the last recorded figures, and UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said the statistics were “concerning” as Britain enters its busiest summer holiday period in a decade. She said: “These figures show that the hospitality industry continues to return to growth and is attracting new people into the workforce. However, high vacancy rates are impeding our ability to trade. This is particularly concerning as we enter the summer, a key trading period for much of the sector.”

In April 2022, weekly earnings were 15.1% higher than a year earlier – against a 9%rate of inflation. This is the highest wage growth of any sector and means hospitality is one of the few parts of the economy seeing real wage increases.