New data released by the Office for National Statistics today (17 October) shows vacancies in accommodation and food service activities increased to 121,000 in the three months to September, up from 119,000 recorded at the end of August.
In total, vacancies remain more than 30,000 above pre-pandemic levels.
“Staff shortages remain a significant challenge for hospitality businesses, causing many to operate far below full capacity,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.
“This surprise increase in vacancies demonstrates the fluctuations that remain in the labour market and the need for action to help businesses get people into work.”
UKHospitality has put forward a series of suggestions to the Government that it says could reduce vacancies across the sector.
They include reforming the apprenticeship levy to allow 25% of funds to be used for non-apprenticeship training and to allow a modular approach to delivery; and instigating Youth Mobility Scheme agreements with a range of European nations.
It’s also calling for the Government to commit to scaling up skills pilot projects currently running with the Department for Work and Pensions.
“As the third largest employer in the UK, implementing these measures will unlock thousands of job opportunities,” Nicholls adds.
“Not only is hospitality well placed to kickstart someone’s career, but it can help bring people back into the workforce too, providing a key solution to an economy-wide challenge.
“Government action in these areas would be a clear signal it is prepared to help businesses resolve a key issue, as well as keeping venues at the heart of their communities thriving.”
Restaurant recently released a free-to-download Staffing Report, which not only identifies the challenges the industry faces but explores the options available to businesses when trying to address these issues. To find out more and to download your own copy of the report, click here.