A new survey from UKHospitality has suggested that the industry is seeing a shortage of 188,000 workers, with a current vacancy rate of 9% across the whole hospitality sector.
The shortage of front-of-house staff and chefs is particularly acute, with 80% of those surveyed reporting vacancies for front-of-house roles, such as waiting and bar staff, and 85% are in need of chefs.
Some 47% have housekeeping vacancies and 43% are looking for assistant or general managers.
The new analysis, based on a survey of hundreds of hospitality operators, has revealed the extent of the staffing crisis facing a sector that is already in a hugely fragile state following more than a year of closures and severely restricted trading.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The Government must restore confidence in the hospitality sector so that it is again seen as a stable employer and provider of fulfilling careers.
“To facilitate this, it must stick to the re-opening roadmap, lifting all restrictions from 21st June. This will restore consumer confidence and give a strong signal to workers that hospitality will bounce back strongly. Beyond this, the single biggest act of support that Government could give would be to encourage more UK-based workers to join the hospitality sector.
“It is also time for the Government to review its list of shortage occupations and consider the introduction of an Australian-style visa scheme to enable the workers we need, who don’t meet the point-based system, to come and work here.”
The survey showed that for overseas workers, many of whom returned home at the beginning of the pandemic, travel restrictions were a primary reason they had chosen not to return to the UK.
Nearly a fifth said the cost of quarantine on return was preventing them from coming back.