UKHospitality says current vacancies in hospitality are more than 100% higher than the corresponding pre-Covid period.

The staff shortage, as exposed by ONS labour market statistics published last week, has prompted the trade body to call for a redoubling of efforts from all stakeholders to resource and support the Hospitality Rising campaign to promote careers in the sector.

UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Of course the hospitality sector is delighted that Covid restrictions are being lifted, but that brings a new problem: how to service increased customer demand without the staff to do it.

“Vacancies in our industry are now double (+102%) what they were before the pandemic, and there has been a fundamental shift in the labour market and hospitality must address that quickly. The acute shortfall comes despite employment being close to pre-pandemic levels (-4%), at a time when our sector seeks to be at the vanguard of the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

“That’s why we’re backing a proposed £5m cross-sector drive to recruit for those roles; urging government to allow more flexible skills training and to enable businesses to use unspent apprenticeship levy funds from the past two years; and promoting closer partnerships between local businesses and job centres to match jobseekers with the exciting jobs that are available in our sector, and which provide long-term career prospects.”