More than half (51%) of hotel and catering firms were looking for new staff in the second quarter of the year, of which 76% reported difficulties in recruiting.
According to the British Chambers of Commerce's Quarterly Recruitment Outlook survey for Q2 2021, this made hospitality the second-highest sector reporting recruitment struggles after construction at 82%.
The figures showed a surge in the proportion of firms expecting to grow their workforce in the next three months, as well as a notable rise in the proportion who attempted to recruit and a significant increase in those who had difficulty in finding staff.
Across the board, more than half (52%) of companies surveyed attempted to recruit in the second quarter and 70% said they were struggling to find staff.
The Catererhas spoken to multiple operators who have had to cut trading hours or are unable to open due to staff shortages, with 91% of independent restaurant chains ranking labour shortages their number one concern in the Hospitality Business Leaders Survey. Businesses are turning to referral bonuses and summer schools to train new workers, while the Scottish government has launched a recruitment drive.
Head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce Jane Gratton said: "As firms are released from lockdown restrictions, the skills and labour shortages they experienced before the pandemic are once again starting to bite. The encouraging increase in job creation across the manufacturing and services sectors is being held back by recruitment difficulties at all skill levels, jeopardising growth and productivity.
"Whether people have found work in a different sector, changed their working patterns or left the UK during the recession, firms are now struggling to find the people they need. It's vital that business, government and the skills system work together to find solutions.
"Adopting more remote and flexible working patterns will help firms attract skills from a wider talent pool. But we also need access to rapid and agile training and re-skilling opportunities for adults in the workforce, alongside a flexible and cost-effective immigration system that ensures fast access to skills when these can't be recruited locally."