A record 2.6m people are now employed in the accommodation and food service industry with the trade creating one in five new jobs, despite ‘crippling vacancies and staff shortages’, according to UKH.
At its inaugural Workforce and Skills Seminar later today (Wednesday 1 March), it will showcase hospitality’s potential to grow job creation.
It stated even with vacancies 64% higher than pre-pandemic levels, the industry continues to offer employment opportunities for everyone.
In order for hospitality to continue its strong record on employment, the right action needs to be taken at the Spring Budget, according to UKH.
The trade body has urged the Chancellor to reform the Apprenticeship Levy to help enable funding to be used for other forms of training.
It also asked for the levy’s operation to change to offer further flexibility to employers and employees for training alongside incentivising economically inactive people into work.
Furthermore, UKH called for minor, short-term reforms to immigration to be implemented, which it said would counter the sales being lost due to labour shortages, specifically abolishing r reducing the Immigration Skills Charge and offering more flexibility to students to work longer hours.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls described the sector’s ability to create more than a fifth (20%) of new jobs in the past year, amid ongoing cost pressures was “testament to its resilience and ability to battle against the odds”.
She added: “Employing a record number of people is something we should all be proud of, especially when those figures don’t include the hundreds of thousands employed in contract catering, leisure and visitor attractions.
“If we can do this now, just think what we can do in calmer economic times. We can be the engine behind significant job creation and economic growth, offering everyone opportunities to enter the workplace, further their career or return from being economically inactive.
“I’m pleased we have the Hospitality Minister joining us today and I hope he leaves convinced if the Government helps our sector in the Budget, through Apprenticeship Levy reform or minor changes to the immigration policy, it will be empowering a sector that is ready to deliver many times over for the nation.”