Job vacancies in hospitality sector rise more than 700% in a year

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Staff crisis: there are more vacancies per 100 jobs in the hospitality sector than any other in the UK (credit: Getty/skynesher)
Staff crisis: there are more vacancies per 100 jobs in the hospitality sector than any other in the UK (credit: Getty/skynesher)

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Job vacancies in the hospitality sector are estimated to have risen by over 700% from November 2021 to January 2022 versus the same period a year ago.

Some 178,000 positions are currently unfilled in the category according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) – a figure that has soared from 22,000 a year ago.

The pandemic is obviously a major factor in this uplift that is coupled with many other sector headwinds, including Brexit.

The latest figures show vacancies per 100 employee jobs are predicted to have gone up 7.9, which is the highest of any job category in the ONS data. As a comparison, the ratio for the construction industry shows there are just 2.5 vacancies per 100 jobs while the next highest after hospitality is 5.7 in the information and communications sector.

Rising sharply

Vacancies have been rising sharply in hospitality during the previous year, despite dipping slightly to 19,000 in the December 2020 to February 2021 period then quickly reaching 109,000 in April to June 2021.

Data for the overall employee market show an estimated 1.298 million vacancies predicted for the latest period, which was at 608,000 a year earlier – representing a 113% rise.

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Now and throughout the past 22 months, the hospitality sector has experienced acute labour shortages due to varying factors from the pandemic through to Brexit. The latest labour market statistics from the ONS show just how challenging the situation is with record numbers of vacancies across the UK.

“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.”

Widespread recruitment challenges

In August 2021, when ONS statistics found there were 117,000 job vacancies in the sector, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The sector is experiencing widespread recruitment challenges and this is just one of the many negative effects stemming from a prolonged period of closure that hospitality has suffered.”

She continued: “While furlough helped protect many sector jobs, businesses that have been haemorrhaging cash or accruing debt during enforced enclosures and trading restrictions have been forced to let staff go and were unable to reopen with full teams intact. Some of these workers will have moved to different sectors that have been open and busy over the course of the pandemic.

“This is just more evidence of how hospitality has been uniquely hit by the pandemic and of the crucial need for Government to continue its support.

“As a sector we are committed to promoting the incredible, varied and rewarding careers that hospitality has to offer, to overcome the uncertainties that the stop/start reopenings and closures seem to have generated during the Covid crisis.”

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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