Urgent Workforce Solutions Needed to Avoid Summer Slump

UKHospitality has demanded immediate action from the government to avoid a summer staffing slump for the sector.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) again confirmed no significant improvement in the vacancy rate for the sector, which remains at around the 140,000-mark for the fifth month in a row.

The trade body has consistently urged the Government to take action to alleviate these issues and today’s figures from the ONS reinforce the urgency to do so.

There are, they say, solutions available to help solve this crisis, through making changes to the immigration system to provide an immediate boost to the workforce and reforming the Apprenticeship Levy to enhance our already strong track-record of developing home-grown talent.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Hospitality businesses are now entering the busy summer season but what should be a time of optimism has become one of despair.

“Staff shortages have plagued the sector for years and the labour market now appears to have stagnated at the worst time for hospitality, with vacancies 48% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

“The results are stark. Nearly half of businesses are being forced to reduce opening hours per day and a third are reducing the days they open per week. There is no doubt that the sector will be going into the summer understaffed, with significant knock-on impacts for consumers.

“Whether it’s pubs and restaurants that are unable to find a chef, or wedding venues that are struggling to recruit much-needed seasonal workers, everyone is affected.

“If hospitality businesses were fully staffed, we could be contributing so much more to the Government goals of economic growth and driving down inflation. That should be incentive enough for the Government to heed our calls and take action.

“Combined, changes to the immigration system to help businesses better recruit and reform to the Apprenticeship Levy would put the sector in a position to succeed for years to come.”