Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that there were 173,000 vacancies recorded in the accommodation and food service activities between May and July 2022.
This was marginally below the levels of April to June 2022 where figures showed vacancies at 174,000 – a drop of just under 0.6%.
The figures show that vacancies in the hospitality sector have risen by 44,000 (34%) compared to last year. Vacancies in accommodation and food service from May to July 2021 were 129,000.
Pre-pandemic, vacancy figures often lingered at around the 90,000. The first time accommodation and food service activities reported more than 100,000 empty roles was in April to June 2021 where vacancies increased from 74,000 to 107,000 – a 45% jump.
“Staff shortages have been at a record high in the hospitality industry for some time, causing thousands of operators to cut trading hours or close for whole days, at a cost of £21bn in lost revenue,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.
“At the same time, operating costs are soaring across the board for businesses already carrying heavy debt levels from the pandemic. The industry needs urgent support from the Government if it is to survive and generate jobs and growth. In short, the recovery of both the sector and the UK economy are being threatened by the workforce crisis.”
Speaking ahead of new employment figures being released, Emma McClarkin, British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive, said the Government must make it easier to recruit and retain staff, for example by allowing greater flexibility in the apprenticeship levy and increasing the number of hospitality qualifications available so young people can be confident the sector provides a long-term career path.
“As an industry we rely on brilliant people for our businesses to thrive and so we need a forward-looking plan on labour shortages, so they don’t continue to threaten our sector’s viability,” she said.
The BBPA’s comment comes after the trade body wrote a letter to Conservative Leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, calling for them to convene a summit at the earliest opportunity possible to form a long-term plan for the sector and secure the future of thousands of hospitality businesses across the country.