Recruitment shortages still hamper growth despite fewer vacancies

22 May, 2023

UKHospitality has cautioned that persistent recruitment shortages in the industry are impeding its growth, despite a notable decrease in job openings over the past year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the latest data reveals a 22% decline in hospitality vacancies over the previous year, with a 9% decrease in the last quarter.

However, the sector still faces a substantial 132,000 vacancies, which represents a 48% increase compared to pre-Covid levels.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, commented:

"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 years is significant, it remains the case that vacancies remain stubbornly high and way in excess of pre-Covid levels.

We continue to hear that worker shortages are forcing venues to reduce opening hours or trading days, demonstrating that vacancies are not reducing quickly enough to fulfil hospitality's enormous potential."

For a considerable time, UKHospitality has been advocating for the inclusion of additional hospitality positions in the shortage occupation list, with the aim of facilitating easier recruitment from overseas for businesses in the sector.

In March, there were indications that roles such as chefs, restaurant managers, and hotel managers would be added to the list. However, despite these suggestions, the anticipated inclusion of these positions never materialised.

Kate Nicholls added:

"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."

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