UKHospitality has warned that the sector is facing a shortage of 188,000 staff workers following more than a year of closures and severely restricted trading.
Its analysis is based on a survey of hundreds of hospitality operators which found that 80% of respondents reported vacancies for front-of-house roles, such as waiting and bar staff, with 85% in need of chefs.
Some 47% have housekeeping vacancies and 43% are looking for assistant or general managers.
The survey also 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, with nearly a fifth stating the cost of quarantine on return was preventing them from coming back.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality reiterated the group’s urgency for the government to restore confidence in the hospitality sector so that it is again seen as a “stable employer” and provider of fulfilling careers.
She said: “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.
“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.”
She added: “The hospitality industry has invested heavily to ensure venues are safe places to visit and work. By lifting restrictions on the 21st June and with support, we can get back to what we do best – and power the engine of our economic and social recovery.”