Year-on-Year Surge in Hospitality Vacancies

Vacancies in the hospitality sector have risen by over 600% between November 2021 and January 2022 , when compared to the same period the previous year.

This is a rise of almost 100,000, taking the number of vacant positions in accommodation and food service to over 178,000 in total, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Overall, there are an estimated 1.3 million vacancies UK wide, an increase of 113% year-on-year.

UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Of course the hospitality sector is delighted that Covid restrictions are being lifted, but that brings a new problem: how to service increased customer demand without the staff to do it.

“Vacancies in our industry are now double (+102%) what they were before the pandemic, and there has been a fundamental shift in the labour market and hospitality must address that quickly. The acute shortfall comes despite employment being close to pre-pandemic levels (-4%), at a time when our sector seeks to be at the vanguard of the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

“That’s why we’re backing a proposed £5m cross-sector drive to recruit for those roles; urging government to allow more flexible skills training and to enable businesses to use unspent apprenticeship levy funds from the past two years; and promoting closer partnerships between local businesses and job centres to match jobseekers with the exciting jobs that are available in our sector, and which provide long-term career prospects.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said the figures showed how “challenging” the staffing situation was in hospitality.

“Now and throughout the past 22 months the hospitality sector have experienced acute labour shortages due to varying factors from the pandemic through to Brexit. We are calling on the government to provide greater flexibility in current employment and skills initiatives to enable the sector to meet the challenges of recruiting and retaining a skilled and motivated pub and brewing workforce to help drive the economic recovery throughout the UK.”