In light of these figures, UKHospitality (UKH) has called for a redoubling of efforts from all stakeholders to resource and support the Hospitality Rising campaign to promote careers in the industry.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Of course the hospitality sector is delighted 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 (up 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 (down 4%), at a time when our sector seeks to be at the vanguard of the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”
Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses, 5% of GDP, and is the third largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined.
The latest ONS data on vacancies varied from a number recently published by UKH, which was based on its member survey data on vacancies and indicated a 14% vacancy rate.
That figure was then applied to the total number of jobs within the sector, as measured by ONS, to produce a vacancy number of 394,000 based on January data, compared to the February publication from ONS stating there were 178,000 vacancies in the industry.
Nicholls added: “That’s why we’re backing a proposed £5m cross-sector drive to recruit for those roles.
“[We are] urging the Government to allow more flexible skills training and to enable businesses to use unspent apprenticeship levy funds from the past two years; promoting closer partnerships between local businesses and job centres to match jobseekers with the exciting jobs available in our sector, which provide long-term career prospects.”