Vacancies in the hospitality sector jumped to a record high last month as businesses face the possibility of staff shortages over the key summer season.
The Office for National Statistics’ latest jobs figures revealed that overall job vacancies rose to a new record of 1.3 million, although there was a further slowdown in the rate of growth.
More than a tenth of these vacancies were in the hospitality sector, which has seen rapid growth in job creation after the easing of pandemic restrictions.
UK hospitality businesses recorded 83% more vacancies over the three months to May than over the same period in 2019, before the pandemic struck.
Vacancies hit a new record high of 1.3m across economy and 174,000 permanent vacancies in hospitality - up 83% compared to 2019 and the biggest increase of all major employing sectors (56% across economy as whole). This is now inhibiting our ability to grow and recover
— Kate Nicholls OBE (@UKHospKate) June 14, 2022
The figures showed that hospitality currently has 174,000 jobs available, a record high.
It comes despite a decline in the number of economically inactive people who are looking for work, meaning these positions could be increasingly difficult to fill.
UKHospitality chief executive officer 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.”
The industry group boss also called for the Government’s current points-based system for international workers “to be tweaked to make it easier for seasonal and lower skilled workers to enter the workforce” and improvements to the apprenticeship levy.
Retail sector chiefs also called for the apprenticeship levy to be “reformed” to help fill roles in the sector.
It came as the ONS data showed there were 2.95 million retail jobs in the UK over the latest period, representing a 83,000 decline against the same period last year.
Nonetheless, the expansion of digital retail has created many new well-paid and exciting jobs in the industry, which will continue to grow in the future.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium
“This is doubly true as the hospitality and tourism industries recover from the pandemic.
“Nonetheless, the expansion of digital retail has created many new well-paid and exciting jobs in the industry, which will continue to grow in the future.”