Recruitment landscape remains 'challenging'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Challenging landscape: vacancies in the sector still 72% higher than pre-pandemic levels (Credit: Getty/	Kobus Louw)
Challenging landscape: vacancies in the sector still 72% higher than pre-pandemic levels (Credit: Getty/ Kobus Louw)

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Hospitality businesses are continuing to face an “incredibly challenging” recruitment landscape with vacancies in the sector still 72% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to trade body UKHospitality (UKH).

This comes as figures released by the Office For National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (Tuesday 14 February) revealed unemployment rates across the overall UK workforce increased by 0.1 percentage points to 3.7% between October and December 2022. 

While the overall UK employment rate saw a 0.2 percentage point increase with estimations at 75.6%, driven by part-time workers, December also saw 843,000 working days lost due to labour disputes,​ the highest since November 2011.

More control 

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The labour figures published by ONS indicate hospitality businesses are continuing to face an incredibly challenging recruitment landscape​.

“This chimes with our Budget submission we sent to the Chancellor earlier this month, where we call for Apprenticeship Levy reform, to give employers more control over the delivery and funding of training which would, ultimately, allow many of the economically inactive to get back into work, at almost no cost to the Government​.”

The data also showed the economic inactivity rate during this period decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 21.4%, largely driven by workers aged between 16 and 24.

However, the estimated number of vacancies fell by 76,000 on the quarter to 1,134,000 between November 2022 and January 2023,, the seventh consecutive quarterly fall since May to July 2022.

Key challenge 

Additionally, estimations showed there was a record-high net flow out of inactivity while employment rates in those aged 16-64 hit 75.6% on top of an increase to average weekly earnings.

Though while growth in total pay, including bonuses, was 5.9% among employees during this period, after adjustments for inflation, it fell 3.1%.

Nicholls added: “Recruitment will, undoubtedly, continue to be a key challenge for the industry to grapple with, so government intervention ranging from apprenticeship reform, investment in skills and implementing short-term immigration solutions, will ultimately make the challenge easier for businesses to manage.

“It is only through measures such as these that the sector will be able to truly turn the corner, filling essential roles to help deliver growth ​and create even more job opportunities.”

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