Hospitality staff shortage at a record high despite the sector creating nearly one in three of all new UK jobs in the last year

14, June 2022

Latest ONS labour market figures show hospitality generating hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the UK, but sector recovery is being held back by a chronic staff crisis, according to UK Hospitality (UKH).

UKH reports that figures released by the ONS show that the hospitality sector is experiencing 83% more vacancies across the sector compared to March-May 2019 (the most recent comparable period). At the same time, the sector has created nearly 300,000 new jobs over the last 12 months, equal to one-in-three of all new jobs.

The figures highlight how, despite an improving post-pandemic performance, sector recovery is being thwarted by a shortage of staff.

According to the new figures, hospitality currently has 174,000 jobs available, a record high, in a climate where those that are economically inactive and wanting a job have fallen by about 130,000 over the same period.

UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said: “These figures show that the hospitality industry continues to return to growth and is attracting new people into the workforce. However, high vacancy rates are impeding our ability to trade. This is particularly concerning as we enter the summer, a key trading period for much of the sector.

“Last month UKHospitality launched its Workforce Strategy in order to tackle this and we have set out a coherent plan to solve some of the issues, including working with colleges and universities to attract students into work this summer and demonstrating how flexible working will provide opportunities for carers – but we need Government support.

“The points-based system needs to be tweaked to make it easier for seasonal and lower skilled workers to enter the workforce and the apprenticeship levy should be freed-up to help us attract the workforce we need to recover and grow.”


Notes to editors:

About UKHospitality:

  • UKHospitality is the voice for over 730 companies operating around 85,000 venues in a sector that employed 3.2 million people prior to COVID.
  • The sector creates £130bn in economic activity and generates £39bn of tax for the Exchequer, funding vital services
  • Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP
  • Hospitality is the third largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined.

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