Hospitality Vacancies Remain High

The hospitality industry has been grappling with a staff shortage crisis for some time now, and despite the decline in job vacancies, the sector is still struggling to fill positions. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 132,000 unfilled roles in the UK hospitality industry between February and April 2023. This figure represents a decline of 37,000 job vacancies over the past year, but the number of vacancies still remains stubbornly high.

Despite the decline in job vacancies, the hospitality industry continues to face a significant challenge in recruiting and retaining employees. The sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many workers leaving the industry due to the uncertainty surrounding their jobs and the health risks associated with working in close proximity to others. The decline in job vacancies is a positive sign, but it is clear that the industry needs to do more to attract and retain workers if it is to fully recover from the impact of the pandemic.

According to the latest report from UK Hospitality (UKH), job vacancies in the hospitality sector continue to remain at high levels. Despite the challenges faced by the industry due to the ongoing pandemic and related restrictions, the demand for workers in the hospitality sector remains robust.

The report indicates that the sector is experiencing a sustained need for skilled and enthusiastic individuals to fill various roles across restaurants, hotels, bars, and other hospitality establishments. This demand is attributed to factors such as the gradual easing of restrictions, the reopening of venues, and the pent-up consumer demand for dining and leisure experiences.

Current State of Hospitality Vacancies

Overview of the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is a significant contributor to the UK economy, providing jobs to millions of people. However, the industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the number of job vacancies in the sector has remained stubbornly high. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of hospitality job vacancies fell by 22% over the last year and by 9% in the last quarter. Despite this decline, there are still 132,000 vacancies in the sector, which is 48% higher than pre-Covid levels.

UKH highlights the importance of attracting and retaining talent in the industry, emphasizing the diverse range of career opportunities available. They also emphasize the need for collaboration between the government, industry stakeholders, and educational institutions to support training and development programs that nurture future talent.

While job vacancies in the hospitality sector present opportunities for job seekers, they also pose challenges for businesses. The competition for skilled workers is fierce, prompting many operators to offer competitive wages, benefits, and career progression pathways to attract and retain staff.

Factors Contributing to High Vacancy Rates

Several factors are contributing to the high vacancy rates in the hospitality industry. One of the main reasons is the staffing shortage caused by the pandemic. Many workers have left the industry due to furloughs, redundancies, or uncertainty about their future. Additionally, the industry is facing a skills gap, with many vacancies requiring specific training or qualifications.

Another contributing factor is the low pay and poor working conditions in the industry. Many hospitality workers are paid minimum wage or just above it, and they often work long hours with little job security. This has led to a lack of interest in hospitality jobs, with many workers opting for other industries that offer better pay and working conditions.

Regional Differences in Hospitality Vacancies

The hospitality industry is not evenly distributed across the UK, and there are significant regional differences in the number of job vacancies. According to the ONS, London has the highest number of hospitality job vacancies, with 28,000 vacancies in the sector. The South East and North West also have high numbers of vacancies, with 18,000 and 14,000 respectively.

In contrast, the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber have the lowest number of hospitality job vacancies, with just 6,000 and 7,000 respectively. This disparity may be due to differences in the size and type of hospitality businesses in each region, as well as the level of tourism and consumer demand.


The report from UK Hospitality serves as a reminder of the vital role the sector plays in driving economic growth and employment opportunities across the country. It highlights the ongoing need for support and recognition from policymakers to ensure the long-term sustainability and success of the hospitality industry.

As the sector continues to recover and adapt to the changing landscape, addressing the job vacancies and workforce requirements will be crucial. Efforts to promote the industry, enhance skills development, and create a favourable working environment will be essential in attracting and retaining talent in the vibrant and dynamic hospitality sector.

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