The hospitality sector is expected to take longer than most other sectors to recover jobs lost in 2020, employing substantially fewer people in 2023 than it did in 2019, according to EY’s latest Regional Economic Forecast.
Employment in the hospitality sector is forecast to fall by the equivalent of an annual average of -1.39% by 2023 compared with 2019, behind mining (-2.31%), manufacturing (-1.55%) and water and waste management (-1.50%).
When measured by Gross Value Added (GVA), the hospitality sector is also forecast to be smaller in 2023 than it was in 2019, and is expected to see the equivalent of an annual average -1.36% decline.
The forecast shows the sector will see regional inequalities, with the largest declines in employment found in the South West (-1.83% per year between 2019-23) and the West Midlands (-1.71%). The regions likely to see the lowest declines in employment are London (-0.97%) and the South East (-1.07%).
Christian Mole, EY’s UK&I Head of Hospitality & Leisure, added: “In contrast to previous downturns, London has been one of the most affected cities in the UK, reflecting the pandemic’s impact on international tourism and business travel. But in the longer-term, we expect London to recover to pre-COVID levels of activity.
“The pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to significantly restructure their cost base. With payroll the biggest single cost for most businesses, this may mean some will face tough decisions around their longer-term headcount.”