The number of job vacancies in the UK hospitality industry has risen by 50,000 since before the pandemic began in early 2020, new figures show.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows there were 134,000 empty roles in the accommodation and foodservices sector between July and September 2021.
This was a 59% increase on January to March 2020, the last period before the pandemic hit, when the industry had 84,000 staff vacancies.
There was also a 23% rise in empty roles between July and September this year compared to the previous quarter.
The industry has continued to struggle with staff shortages since reopening, forcing some businesses to reduce opening hours and turn down bookings.
Hospitality businesses were more than twice as likely as other industries to be having difficult recruiting, according to a recent ONS study. Some 30% of hospitality firms said vacancies were more difficult to fill than normal, compared to 13% across all other sectors.
This week the Grange at Oborne hotel in Dorset announced it will close for two days a week during December due to staff shortages, despite it being its "busiest month of the year".
Overall, the ONS said there were 1.1m vacancies across all areas of the economy between July and September this year, a record high
The Caterer has been told staff shortages across the wider foodservice supply chain have forced some customers such as schools to turn to Amazon and Tesco for food orders.
Image: Shutterstock / Nick Starichenko