UKHospitality Responds to Latest ONS Labour Market Data

The latest UK employment figures reveal that the UK employment rate was estimated at 75.6% in September to November 2022, largely unchanged compared with the previous three-month period and 1.0 percentage points lower than before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020). The number of employees and part-time self-employed workers increased over the latest three-month period, while full-time self-employed workers decreased.

The data reveal that there were 149,000 vacancies in the hospitality sector between October-December fall of 5.5% compared to the previous quarter, and the figures also reveal that wages are growing at the fastest rate in over 20 years.

Responding to the latest ONS labour market data, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Today’s figures reinforce the challenging recruitment landscape hospitality businesses are facing, with vacancy rates still 63% higher than pre-pandemic levels. This continues to restrict the ability of businesses to trade and our recent Future Shock report illustrated the impact that is having, with businesses restricting trading hours, reducing opening days and simplifying menus as a result of staffing shortages.

“Wages in the sector have been steadily rising for a long time, reflecting the efforts of businesses to both attract staff and keep up with inflation. Our latest quarterly survey showed staff pay was up 12%, joining energy, food and drink as the most significantly rising business costs.

“There is not a silver bullet to solve this recruitment crisis but we do need to see ambition from Government, ranging from investment in skills, apprenticeships and education to immigration solutions where necessary.

“If the sector is able to access the people it needs to fill essential roles, businesses will be able to trade more freely and return to their potential to deliver economic growth and create even more job opportunities.”