UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls claimed vacancies in the sector had dropped 22% over the past year but were not reducing quickly enough.
She said: “The drop in hospitality vacancies we have seen over the past year is testament to the huge effort the sector is putting in to develop our own talent and help people back into the labour market, such as investing in skills and creating more flexible working patterns.
“While a 22% drop over the past year is significant, vacancies remain stubbornly high and way in excess of pre-Covid levels.”
This comes as data from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) yesterday (Tuesday 16 May) revealed the estimated number of vacancies in the total job market fell by 55,000 on the quarter to 1,083,000 in February to April this year.
However, despite the slight drop, the unemployment rate during this period increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarters to 3.9%, driven by people unemployed for more than 12 months.
Additionally, the data showed that number of people not working due to long-term sickness had hit a record high.
The figures reflected uncertainty across all industries as firms continued to hold back on recruitment due to economic pressures, according to ONS.
Nicholls continued: “We continue to hear that worker shortages are forcing venues to reduce opening hours or trading days, demonstrating vacancies are not reducing quickly enough to fulfil hospitality’s enormous potential.”
UKH previously called for changes to the immigration system as well as reformation to the apprenticeship Levy in order to tackle ongoing labour issues, after figures from ONS last month showed vacancies in the sector were up 56.9% year-on-year.
Nicholls concluded: “One of the most meaningful actions Government can take to further reduce vacancies would be to add more hospitality roles, such as chefs, onto the Shortage Occupation List.
“We will be making this case as part of the Migration Advisory Committee’s review and would urge them to bolster hospitality’s representation on the list.”